Pregnancy during a pandemic
Words by Cayleh our loved mass + muster Copy Writer
Sitting here writing this blog, I am currently 27 weeks pregnant and for the most part feeling incredibly grateful I am growing a tiny human. But at the same time, I also feel like I am missing out on a little innocence and joy that would often come with a first pregnancy. I can probably vouch for everyone in the world right now, I never ever imagined in my wildest dreams that a global pandemic would hit us in 2020 and quite literally halt the whole world. Living in a time where your mind, body and heart are already changing at a rapid rate, and the added stresses of job security, being able to pay the rent and a health care system that has been rocked by COVID 19 is somewhat unsettling to say the least.
I wanted to share some of my experiences, thoughts and feelings so hopefully other pregnant mama-to-bes can relate and realise they aren’t alone in their journey to motherhood. Fortunately, for me this is my first pregnancy, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to, which I am grateful for, but it does feel like a lot of my experience so far has been very different to the norm.
Working from home
I got back from New Zealand within 24 hours of having to quarantine, so I made it in the nick of time, still very much in the stages of nausea, vomiting and all-over lethargy, I was very lucky I didn’t have to spend two weeks isolating in a hotel by myself for my birthday. From that moment on, I worked from home which was a double-edged sword. On the one hand it was pleasant to be able to roll out of bed and walk down the hall to start work, eat breakfast at 9am, or even 10am and wear the comfiest clothes in my wardrobe. Most days I just wore a bikini and sarong, ready for my lunch time swim and pray that no one would request video to be turned on during our work calls!
On the other hand, my desk set up was not very ergonomic and with a rapidly growing baby and ever-expanding bump, in came the back pain and no ways to release it – all massage, acupuncture, magnesium float tanks etc had shut up shop due to the virus. It was lucky I walked to the fridge every half an hour and at lunch time, I made it my mission to get outside and just walk for an hour.
Other aspects that didn’t work in our `mother to be’ favour during the Covid crisis was my partner losing his job and myself getting a pay reduction. I know this happened to a lot of people and most days I did have the glass half full approach – however like many others, I panicked about money and saving for our impending arrival where I wouldn’t be earning and at this stage, my partner wouldn’t be either. At the time, we were needing to move house, to a more baby friendly space, so that was another added stress- who would let us rent their place if we both didn’t have jobs come August?!
Oh how I loved going to the ultrasound scans and getting to see my little baby inside my tummy squirming away. The instant relief of knowing he was okay in there put me on a natural high for days on end. Due to my partner working away for a month at a time, he missed quite a few of these, and then the last one – the 20-week anatomy scan where they go through every single body part and organ which is truly fascinating (he wasn’t allowed to come). I was devastated, as those moments are such amazing experiences to share together and for him to feel connected to the baby. Anyway, I took it in my stride and moved on – a bit nervous that I was only halfway through my pregnancy and there would be no more scans. Alas, it was onto the midwife and obstetrician appointments, which all happened by phone. No measuring of my belly, weighing, listening to heartbeat – just a question and answer style phone call. I so desperately wanted to go in and see the hospital, meet a midwife and feel a little less alone in this pregnancy. Ante-natal classes had all been cancelled, so we booked ours online and I was sad about this too, I wanted to meet new mums at the same stage of pregnancy as me!
During the lockdown phases I definitely kept my distance from friends and people, as pregnant women do have a lowered immunity and I definitely didn’t want to put my baby at risk when there was still so many unknowns around the virus. For the most part, I am an introvert and very independent but I craved conversation and missed my friends and work colleagues. I wanted people to comment on my bump, and touch my belly and just hug someone! Also, not being able to go back to New Zealand or see my family and not knowing when I would see them again was one of the hardest
things I have and still are dealing with during this time. For them not to be able to see me growing and glowing is heartbreaking, and of course to not have my mum doting over me and cooking me meals and telling me to put my feet up…
I was due to visit my sister and niece in Western Australia and a trip to New Zealand to see my not so well Nana were pushed aside due to the travel bans and I am patiently waiting for the borders to open and quarantine to be cancelled, so I can get home before the baby arrives.
All in all, these things aren’t devastating, they aren’t the worst thing that could ever happen, I am simply sharing my reality and some of my feelings I went through and am still going through during this time. It hasn’t all been doom and gloom and I want to end on all the positives. I got to have my partner home for three months, when it’s usually for only four weeks at a time. I walked every single day, which doesn’t happen when I’m at the office. I spent a lot of time reading and journaling, immersing myself in nature whether that was daily dips in the sea, watching the full moon rise or simply sitting under a tree having a cup of tea and being grateful for the simple things. I enjoyed life slowing down and not having anywhere to be. It was a huge pause, reset and reflection time of my life, where I enjoyed my own company before I recreate myself into a mother.
I hope your faith is bigger than your fear and that you have the constant support of loved ones around you to help you through this uncharted and unique time in history. If I have any advice it would be to stay present, focus on what you can control about your pregnancy and the imminent birth of your beloved baby. Let’s all pray this virus ends, do our bit to stay safe and get excited about restrictions slowly easing because I’m so ready to have a baby shower!
Happy pregnancy mama-to-be’s!
Stunning imagery taken by Beth Mcqueen Photography
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