The impact of Covid-19 has heavily impacted one of the most meaningful times in a person’s life – the joy of pregnancy and birth. With movement and visitation restrictions in place, expecting families have had to adjust their expectations of what this journey should be. It has become a much more solitary one, with grandparents, siblings and other family being unable to provide the in-person support they normally would. But that doesn’t mean throwing the joy of this time to the wind. Embrace the journey for what it is and remember to enjoy the small moments. Here are a few tips to help during this unknown time.
1. You don’t have to pretend you are okay. It may look like it from the outside, but no one is taking this in their stride. People are afraid, confused, angry or even in denial. Why should you be any different? Your emotions are valid. It is normal to go from thinking “everyone is over-reacting”, and “it’s not that bad” to paralysing fear and anxiety at the severity of what is happening all over the world. Take care of yourself. Give yourself space. Don’t judge yourself for the emotions you’re experiencing.
2. Talk to your healthcare provider about family-centred care. Consider a home birth with a midwife and doulah – assuming your doctor gives you the all clear. Many midwives can move from planned hospital births to home. This reduces your exposure to hospitals, which are high risk areas for infection, and you can avoid many of the hospital restrictions on visiting hours for your family. In some cases, a hospital may allow your partner to be present for the birth if they have been tested for Covid-19 and been found to be negative. Policy and procedures are changing almost daily, as worldwide people are still learning about this disease, so remember to stay up to date with what is and is not allowed.
3. Know what you can control. Your baby is coming during a pandemic whether you like it or not. You can’t change that. But you can control your environment and ensure you take every precaution to stay healthy. Wash your hands regularly, avoid leaving the house (and don’t allow visitors!) as much as possible, and wear your mask whenever you come into contact with others. If your partner is leaving the house, ensure they change their clothes and wash hands and face before you make any contact. It may feel strange and awkward, but your baby’s health comes first.
4. Look for the up side. Quarantine has brought some unexpected benefits. Once Baby is born, you get to spend all your time with them. Dad is around more to help, no visitors to disturb nap time and breastfeeding. There is less pressure on Mom to bounce back. All in all, there are some great benefits to quarantine when it comes to having a newborn.
5. Embrace your story. Having a baby during a pandemic is part of your story. Instead of deleting all the pictures of you and Dad in a mask holding Baby, embrace them! While it may be hard to adjust to life with a mask, this is a unique time and a story that can be told with smiles and laughs in future.
6. Technology is your friend. You may have had to cancel your baby shower and told family not to come to the birth, but that doesn’t mean you’re alone! Zoom, Google hangouts, facetime – these things all provide you with a way to introduce your new precious one to friends and family. You could also hold a remote and drive-by baby shower to celebrate this special time.