Sunday, December 3, 2023

A letter to my pandemic baby

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March 26 2020, as U.S. hospitals begin to fill with coronavirus patients and the country adjusts to the new reality of the lockdown, WIRED deputy editor Zak Jason found out he was expecting his first child . Over the next nine months, he and his wife, Kristen, wrote letters and recorded notes to their unborn daughter, trying to explain the world she would be born into as it seemed to turn faster than ever.

As World War II may seem to baby boomers and 9/11 to Gen Z, children born during and after 2020 may see memories of the pandemic, the smoky orange sky over Australia, and of the American West, street protests, an endless election, and a hologram of a deceased father wishing his daughter a happy birthday like a bizarre fairy tale. It’s an attempt to show it was real: virtual childbirth classes, nasal swabs, ultrasounds on FaceTime, a risk assessment for visiting grandparents, an attempt to lift a ghost blueberry with your vagina during a streaming Kegel lesson, cave apps for dads, and all. In this week’s episode of Get WIRED podcast, the parents-to-be are sharing some of their hardest-to-breathe one-year dispatches – virions and ash attacking the lungs, suffocating lies, a knee on her neck – as their daughter, Leona, prepares to take his first breath.

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