This year began like a dream for my little family. The news that we had conceived our first child came in early January. Both of us were in great jobs, we had big plans, and the excitement felt like it was growing by the day.
Soon to be a family of three, we were elated and couldn’t wait to share the news with our close-knit circle of family and friends.
Flash forward to today and you wouldn’t know that we were that same excited couple. Fear and an overall feeling of disempowerment have replaced the initial unwavering excitement.
Watch: Questions about childbirth, answered. Post continues below.
As I watched the experience of the pandemic globally, the hope I had held onto as the Australian COVID-19 case numbers dropped was ‘at least we're in Australia’. For me, this translated to:
At least my partner will be with me in the hospital.
At least I won’t have to wear a mask while I labour.
At least my family will be able to meet my new little baby when the time comes.
Unfortunately, from my lonely Melbourne lounge room, it feels like those hopes are being crushed today.
The pandemic first reared its ugly head in March when my job was impacted. Once travelling around Melbourne and interstate weekly, I was now housebound and unemployed. Like many people, so much of my personal identity was attached to my work.
For it to change so quickly was a big blow, particularly under the circumstances. I had faced pretty rough first trimester nausea, so my partner and I felt like maybe this break was what we needed for the baby and for myself. Financially, we could make it work, and so home I stayed. Every day.
At the same time, the first phase of Melbourne restrictions had begun. My doctor no longer wanted me to attend clinic visits, instead pushing for telehealth consults only. I would contact him about my severe morning sickness, rashes, pain, headaches, but still… no in-person consultations were to be scheduled. I understood it was both for my safety as well as his, but I couldn’t help suddenly feeling alone in my health care. An invisible enemy had taken precedence over our experience.
Listen: Pregnancy in the time of Coronavirus. Post continues below.
It was also now clear that the plans I had for my first pregnancy would no longer be an option. At the very least, not in the way I envisaged.