The new normal – Day 67

May 22, 2020


Photos courtesy of Briana McCarthy and Marie Arcidiacono-Kaufman

Left: Both Briana McCarthy and Marie Arcidiacono-Kaufman are LMC professors who are now new mothers during a pandemic.

Jordyn Toscano, News Editor

Editor’s note: This is the final installment of “The new normal,” a continuing series that began March 17, the first day of the public health order requiring citizens of Contra Costa County and five other local municipalities to shelter in place. The Experience’s 67-part series was designed to give readers a glimpse into how a wide variety of members of the Los Medanos College community coped with that order amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Not only did the county-wide shelter-in-place order affect students at Los Medanos College, but faculty and staff as well. 

The transition to online courses in the midst of the fall semester was surprising to many, but proved an even larger challenge for speech professor Marie Arcidiacono-Kaufman and biology professor Briana McCarthy.

Both highly regarded professors at LMC, Kaufman and McCarthy had the support of many during the switch online. 

Not only did they have to transition to a new way of teaching, but both were pregnant with their first child as well.

“This was my first child and I was nervous to go through the final trimester of my pregnancy during a global pandemic and shelter-in-place. The global pandemic and SIP greatly altered what I had imagined the last trimester and the birth of my baby to look like,” said Kaufman.

Despite the challenges both women faced when the shelter-in-place order was announced, they supported each other unconditionally throughout their pregnancies.

“During the SIP, Marie and I texted everyday and called each other when we were out on walks. We shared information we gleaned from the few classes that were made available virtually and comforted one another during the dark times,” said McCarthy. “Our partners were both working out of the house and we’re not allowed at any of our appointments, so we leaned on each other extensively.”

Both women gave birth to healthy children, a boy and a girl, May 7; both weighing in at exactly 7lbs, 30z. Since the birth of their children, they have not been able to meet in person, but still provide support for each other on a daily basis.

“It was amazing to have Professor McCarthy along for this very wild ride, ‘Pregnant in a Pandemic’ as we referred to it,” said Kaufman. “We still text everyday; all hours of the day and night since we both have newborns. We’ve been able to squeeze in a short chat here and there on the phone as well. We’ve also sent each other things via online orders when we find something that we or our babies really like just to let the other know we are there for them.”

While all LMC students, staff and faculty continue to adjust to their new normal, Kaufman and McCarthy continue to lean on each other for support and friendship during these uncertain times.