On March 20, Governor Gavin Newsom ordered California residents to shelter in place to control the spread of COVID-19. That same week, Katie Lowes, who played a brash, fearless security operative known as the Molotov Mistress on ABC’s Scandal, found out she was pregnant with her second kid. Talk about what one could euphemistically call unfortunate timing. “I didn’t announce earlier because I was so petrified,” says Lowes, who shared her news on Instagram and is in her second trimester. “The first week of quarantine my nanny tested positive for COVID and I tested positive for pregnancy.”
Lowes, who hosts the parenting podcast Katie’s Crib, and actor husband Adam Shapiro are already the parents of Albee Lowes, who’s 2. And Lowes, who’s been candid about her struggles after giving birth the first time — it took her nearly three months to truly connect with her newborn, something that goes against society’s relentless fetishization of pregnancy and maternal bonding — is better prepared this time around should she experience the same levels of PPD. She’s not thrilled about going into a hospital as cases surge, but she’s also clinging to the positives: “It’s also an amazing reminder that life moves forward. My job has been to stay as calm and chill as possible. I have more than myself to think about.”
Lowes takes to Fatherly about being pregnant during a global pandemic, how her husband is stepping up whenever he can, and how they worked together to build a post-birth plan.
Welp, Katie, that’s some news there.
We’re very excited. It’s been a crazy quarantine. We got pregnant I think probably March 8. That week everything changed within a 48 hour period. We count our blessings. The whole world had shut down. If we had waited I don’t know what we would have done it. I feel very lucky that it’s my second. The first time around would be so scary. When I go to the doctor, it’s the best day of the week. I get to talk to another adult that’s not my husband. Could we sit here for two hours and order in food? The world keeps spinning because of this epic change.
First things first. Does Albee know?
He does know. He’s thrilled. He really likes the attention. He goes around to anyone on socially distant walks screaming, ‘I’m going to be an older brother.’ We told him last week. I’m almost six months.
We got pregnant about a week before quarantine started. Had I known that this was what the world was going to look like, I’m not sure we would have. I’m really glad we did now. The beginning was super scary.
This is an understatement, to say the least, but it must be pretty scary to be pregnant right now.
It’s been so stressful to be pregnant because you’re so worried about getting sick. The legit concerns about being pregnant during COVID are real and they know very little. Until I got the 20 week scan, which is a very intense scan, I was holding the pregnancy close to my chest. Now we’re out. I’m due end of November.
Couple that with the fact that the first time, it took you a long time to bond with Albee. Your husband joked that you’d escape and fly to Europe, back when things like flying to Europe were an actual option. What are you doing differently this time around?
Instead of saying, I got it this time around — I checked all that and said, ‘Let’s get the village. You can always change it. Let’s hire someone for the first two weeks and I’m thankfully in a position of privilege where I can do that. And let’s figure out how to get my mom out here safely.’ Part of you feels like I’ve done it before. The other part of me worries that I could react worse than the first time. It’s completely unknown. I don’t know how I will feel when I bring this baby home. I could fall in love at first sight and feel elated. But there’s also the chance that postpartum depression could be worse the second time around.
Everyone makes a birth plan. Nobody makes a post-birth plan. The post birth-plan is how you take care of yourself and your relationship. I’m making sure I have the support I need.
And he’s much more attuned to what’s going on this time.
For sure. We talk very openly how shitty it was for me with my hormones and my chemistry the first time around. He’s very well aware and knows the signs to look for. If, after the first three weeks after birth, if I don’t look like the woman you recognize, it’s time to go into go mode.
How do you and Adam support each other as parents?
We had heard very early on how important it is to always be a united front in front of our toddler. Whoever feels stronger about something in the moment will take the lead. If we don’t agree on it — we’re always a united front in front of our kid. We’re really good at telling the other one when one of us needs a break. I’ve hit my limit. Your turn.
Because we’re both actors, we’ve been home, and we’ve been together for 14 years — quarantine isn’t a huge adjustment for us. We’re both emotional, over-dramatic actors. Communication, we’re good at that. We overly communicate.