The Positives and Negatives of Having a Baby in COVID-19 Times
These are some strange and scary times. A large percentage of the human race has quickly become a group of self-isolating, hand sanitizing, news overloaded, day drinkers. Weeks in and the whole situation is still completely surreal to me. Seeing friends, family and strangers affected by this all from a health and economic standpoint has been difficult to watch.
Amidst all of this craziness, my wife and I had our first baby (hurrah!). Little Jack was born two weeks ago today and despite everything going on, we’re very happy to have the little guy in our lives.
On the many Zoom calls we’ve been on (yes, little Jack has yet to meet any family or friends), we’re continually reminded of what we’re missing in terms of support and socializing from the enforced self-isolation in Australia. But on the other side of the coin, there have been some ‘silver linings’ as well. We, of course, wish that none of this were happening, but in times like these you have to look at whatever positives you can, so I thought I’d list out a few for a bit of fun.
No Visitors at the Hospital
My wife had a complication with her pregnancy (she’s fine, as is Jack), which resulted in her being in the hospital for two weeks prior to the birth of our baby for monitoring (and an additional week after the birth — 3 weeks!). During the first two weeks, we watched as the hospital went from ‘business as usual’ to ‘COVID-19 Lockdown’. On day one, my wife was having visitors in her room and going to the café downstairs to catch up with others. By the time we left, we were barely allowed to leave her room at all. Shared spaces had been closed off, and visitors weren’t allowed on our floor at all (excluding partners for the pregnant women). For my wife, who was in there for three weeks, it was a very trying time.
(Side note, people also started stealing nappies, bottles and toilet paper, so they began to ration us, giving us these things only when we needed them).
The positive to all of this was that once Jack was born, we had no visitors. Now I know it’s the done thing; you have a baby and the siblings, grandparents, and friends descend to meet the little guy and ask the exhausted parents how it is all going. They all want to play pass the parcel with the baby so that everyone can get a cuddle. We didn’t get to do any of that. And you know what? Apart from it being disappointing for our family, we thought it was great! We were overtired, my wife was recovering from the delivery, and at the same time, we were both figuring out how to be parents. We didn’t need another element like socializing added to that list. One nurse told me she’d never seen a ward of mums and baby’s calmer than while we were there. If and when we have a second baby, we will welcome our family into the hospital with open arms…but this time around, I consider the lack of visitors a ‘silver lining’.
We Were Already Prepared to Self-Isolate
We’ve been preparing for self-isolation for 8.5 months. We bought a chest freezer and started making frozen meals when the word ‘Carona’ was still primarily used for purchasing beer. We stockpiled food and wine. We reduced our spending and decked out our house for a LOT of time alone with the baby. We knew our social life was about to be put on hold and self-imposed-self isolation was imminent. Yes, we would love it if we could introduce little Jack to our family and friends, but we are very happy that our preparation for a baby, helped us in the situation we’re all in now.
As I mentioned above, our social life was due for a planned pause at this time. Catching up with friends at cafes, pubs and each other’s homes was going to greatly reduce. Yes that was still going to happen (and we miss it) but a lot less frequently, as we fell into the endless routine of 3-hour feeds. But now the way people are socializing has changed…instead of sharing a drink at the pub, we’re all sharing one over video conference…Something that is a lot easier for us to be a part of. We’re on an even playing field with our friends and not missing out on any birthday parties, weddings or pub catch-ups. Yes, it sucks for everybody else, but again, I’m trying to find some (slightly selfish) positives in all of this, remember?
No Family, Friends, and Support
While I mentioned the positives of family and friends not being at the hospital in the first few days of Jack’s life, we don’t find many now that we’re at home. We think it’s very sad that his grandparents, aunties & uncles, and our friends can’t meet him in person. Yes, there have been 1000 photos and many video chats, but it’s not the same. Also, the support that would often be there of family members helping out with cooking/feeding and giving us sage advice person to person isn’t there. My wife’s mother group meetings are now a Whatsapp group and a lot of the (great) government services that are usually available are transforming into something less personal. It frankly sucks and we can’t wait for things to return to normal, so we can introduce Jack to the world.
So some positives, and negatives in having a ‘Carona Kid’. Like everyone else, we hope that the measures being taken by everyone to save lives works, and everything gets back to normal post haste. In the meantime, we’ll continue to pull food from our ready stacked freezer, share photographs of Jack's every movement to our loved ones, and have quiz nights with our friends on Zoom.
This article was originally posted here: https://medium.com/@peterwilson_39161/the-positives-and-negatives-of-having-a-baby-in-covid-19-times-993c16ed3c12