Dale Earnhardt Jr. and his wife, Amy, are expecting their second child in the fall, and the semiretired NASCAR star couldn’t be happier about that.
But given that the world is still in the grips of the coronavirus outbreak, that joyful news carries with it extra concerns for the Earnhardts — and other parents-to-be.
“Well, you know, everybody’s experience with the virus, and how it’s changed society, is different,” the two-time Daytona 500 champ explained during an appearance on TODAY Thursday. “It’s challenging for women who are pregnant or expecting, especially in this time when nonessential hospital visits aren’t really allowed or are not preference or priority. So, we haven’t been able to go to the hospital to do the typical things that you do, blood tests and all those things.”
It’s brought an extra element of uncertainty to an experience that packs enough of that already. And while Earnhardt said that “Amy’s doing really well” in her first trimester, his thoughts are with others who are further along.
“We’re delivering in October but imagine expecting and delivering around this time,” the 45-year-old mused. “A lot of these women are having to change the game up a little bit and not experience this process the way they hoped. That’s got to be very tough and frustrating. My heart goes out to them.”
And, no doubt, to his fellow fathers, many of whom have been unable to be there during the births of their own children given tightened safety protocols at hospitals.
During a recent episode of his “Dale Jr. Download” podcast, he said, “I just tell Amy, ‘Well, it’s kind of like the old days. This is just going to be a different process, and we can just hope that everything’s going the way it needs to be going.’”
But the upcoming bundle of joy isn’t the only kid on his mind these days. Earnhardt's thoughts are also on his soon-to-be 2-year-old daughter, Isla, whose birthday will be a little different this year.
“We’ve got to get creative in times like this, so we’ll make it a special day for her,” the proud papa insisted. “Her birthday is on the 30th of April. We’ll do the same thing this weekend, for Easter.”
He isn’t worried about the toddler being disappointed by the arrangements. After all, quarantine hasn’t had her down at all.
“Isla’s had a great time through this experience,” he said. “I hope that she’s totally unaware of what’s going on. I’ve been around a lot. Every single day we’re together, spending so much time together. It’s really brought us very close.”
He called it an example of “some small positives” that have come during this time of crisis.