A pandemic pregnancy is far from easy. Or convenient, for that matter. There are the solo ultrasounds, the masked childbirth and the studies promising that if I contract COVID-19, my baby will be harmed forever.

But holding my newborn, cozy at home while the world around us seemed to be imploding, brought a new level of gratefulness and focus to my family that I couldn't see in the hustle and bustle of pre-pandemic life. I found myself sheepishly admitting in friend groups that I might not be finished yet.

"But you already have four!"

I've heard that more than a few times. But in spite of that, I realized the pandemic had a rejuvenating effect—rather than the opposite—on my family planning. In the midst of the outcries (including my own) for improved maternity leave, child care systems, healthcare access and more, I found out that my big, loud, chaotic, hilarious family is what I value most. The rest sort of fell away.

A baby boom might follow the pandemic baby bust

It made sense that parents might freeze their baby-making plans when the pandemic began. It seemed like a completely volatile and dangerous time to bring a new life into a locked-down world. However, the