Welcome to the Family

Four faculty members welcomed new additions to their family during the pandemic.

Patrick, Roarty’s son, smiles by the Christmas tree.

Struckmeyer, Roraty, Pardue and Caldwell

Patrick, Roarty’s son, smiles by the Christmas tree.

Taylor Smith, Staff

In times of uncertainty and fear, it is necessary to find joy in family. Four Laguna faculty did just that as they welcomed new additions to their families during the quarantine. Dana Caldwell, Jennifer Pardue and Meghan Roarty all delivered babies, and college counselor Matt Struckmeyer became a first-time dad.

Pregnancy and childbirth during the COVID-19 pandemic brought heightened challenges. So much was unknown, and the danger of the virus only added to the stress of becoming a parent.

Doctor’s appointments were no longer simply a part of being pregnant, in fact, these teachers couldn’t even have family members in the hospital. They couldn’t hold traditional celebrations, and the birth and health of their babies became a crucial concern.

Jack, Caldwell’s son, pictured in their garden.

Roarty, who had her baby in Spring, shared that she only taught in-person while pregnant for a couple weeks when the pandemic“first became very real in Santa Barbara. At that time there were even more unknowns, so her doctors advised that no matter what, she not got back after Spring break.

The AP Psychology teacher remained at school until the official quarantine began, but found herself thinking, “as a pregnant woman, should I really be here?”

Although this was a tough time for pregnant teachers, the school put efforts into making things go smoothly for them.

Math teacher Pardue, who discovered that she was pregnant when the virus was at its peak, didn’t feel safe teaching on campus as it would be a risk for her and her baby.

Laguna was supportive and allowed her to continue teaching her classes remotely.

COVID-19 not only impacted these teachers’ lives at school, but also changed how they experienced pregnancy in the hospital. In many states, women weren’t allowed to have their husbands accompany them in the delivery room because of exposure risk.


“My 3-year-old daughter, Bridget, who had been looking forward to this day for months, couldn’t be with us.””

Asher, Pardue’s son, smiles softly with his eyes closed.

Luckily, this wasn’t the case in Santa Barbara. Although husbands were allowed in the hospital, other family members were not.

For Roarty, who was pregnant with her second child, the saddest reality was that “My 3-year-old daughter, Bridget, who had been looking forward to this day for months, couldn’t be with us.”

Caldwell approached this situation differently, choosing to have a home birth far away from the hospital and the stress of COVID-19.

Henry, Struckmeyer’s son, looks up curiously.

Caldwell was directing the play “Anatomy of Gray” when she was nine months pregnant. In the play, an expectant mother sings a lullaby to her child. The drama teacher re- counts her baby moving inside her belly when the lullaby was sung.

While some will recall cute memories, others might focus on the amusing moments that made pregnancy in a pandemic something to laugh about.

A moment that Roarty calls to mind is a moment in which she wanted to play a little prank to brighten her quarantine. Upon running into a neighbor who hadn’t seen her in a couple of months, Roarty was greeted with the common question— are you pregnant?

Instead of saying “Yes,” she responded with, “No, I’m not.” After spending a few moments watching his face grow red, she informed him of her ruse.

She certainly took to heart the idea of finding moments of joy within these stressful times.

Because of this virus, these teachers had to compromise certain aspects of pregnancy, sometimes the aspects that they had looked forward to most. However, each of them emerged from 2020 with adorable babies and memories that they will probably never forget.