Onyka, Bay County

Storyteller: Michelle Wilkerson

Onyka is a 26-year-old who lives in Bay City, Michigan. Before the pandemic, she worked full-time as a stocker in a grocery store. Due to Covid, she stays at home with her 6-month-old son, while her fiancé takes the risk of working.

Onyka first heard of COVID-19 through a friend from Japan in November 2019. They mentioned grocery stores shutting down and recommendation to stay home due to the “flu” going around. she showed concern for her overseas friends and her family in the USA. She feared this unknown virus spreading.

In February of 2020, Onyka and her fiancé were enthusiastic that she was pregnant with their firstborn. Less than a month later, Covid cases reached the USA. She feared catching Covid and dropped down to part-time to protect her pregnancy. Her fiancé was not allowed to be at OBGYN appointments to support her. The birth of their child was secluded from family and friends. She felt lonesome and sorrowful. Her blissful moments of this new coming were surrounded by chaos.

Onyka fears company within her home and is hesitant letting family and friends around. She lost out on the enjoyable things that new moms are supposed to experience with their newborn because of being shut in the house. She and her fiancé make it up with small things like small photoshoots together, taking walks, and enjoying sensory time.

Onyka is thankful that she can spend time with her child and watch him grow. She is grateful for being able to help with bills and stay financially stable because of the help of her paid maternity leave and unemployment. She gives credit to every mom who worked in masks during their pregnancy. She feels that wearing masks is a chore and difficult to do, especially during the summer months. The pandemic has taught her that everything in her life is a luxury. She appreciates the people and things surrounding her today.

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