I was the fifteenth case of COVID-19 in Queensland. I contracted the virus while on a trip to the UK for my grandmother’s funeral and unwittingly carried it back home with me, infecting my partner, a transgendered man, who has cystic fibrosis and who was nine months pregnant at the time.
In those early days of the virus all COVID patients were legally required to quarantine in hospital, so my partner and I were held separately, along with our respective four year olds, unable to leave our tiny rooms for nine days.
My partner birthed his baby while in quarantine, making medical history as the first birth to COVID-positive parents outside of China, and the first unassisted COVID birth in the world.
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The enforced isolation and lack of mental health support provided while in the hospital had a severe negative impact on our children, and when we were eventually released and allowed to finish our quarantine at home our family started to fall apart.
We were traumatised by the way we had been treated in hospital, but what we weren’t prepared for was the way we’d be treated once we’d been released.
When, after over five weeks I was officially declared negative and my quarantine period came to an end, I ventured back into society feeling like a hero. I’d survived COVID-19 and I wanted to tell the whole world.
I even briefly considered getting a “kiss me, I’m immune” shirt made. I was relieved it was over, that we’d defeated the virus and produced a beautiful baby along the way, and so I was completely unprepared for the hostile reception I received when I finally was able to go back outside.
I live in a small country town in regional Queensland, and word travelled fast that we’d caught COVID.
Hysteria took over our children’s school and we were hounded on social media for details of our situation.
Parents posted awful things about us on Facebook and local members of the community took to the airwaves to speak out against us. It felt like we were being demonised, blamed for something that was absolutely no one’s fault.
When I’d developed a fever a few days after returning back to Australia I’d gone to see my GP, but by the time I saw him my temperature had gone down so he’d assumed I was fine.