pregnancy

"How stupid would they have to be?" Stop asking women why they got pregnant in a pandemic.

At the end of every online article about pregnancy and COVID, there they are: smug comments like “why would anyone have a baby right now?”, “how stupid would you have to be to get pregnant during a pandemic?” and so on.

Naturally, I know the comment section of any article can be a total mess. But often on this topic, in among the condescending remarks are stories from other women sharing their fears and experiences with COVID and pregnancy, which can provide solace for those who relate.

Of course, it’s not just comments from strangers. People who aren’t aware you’re pregnant - or hoping to be - might make offhand remarks about how they’d never understand why anyone would have a baby at the moment.

Watch: Things pregnant people never say. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia

Criticising or undermining women for being pregnant isn’t just rude, it’s also ignorant.

In terms of my experience, at the time I fell pregnant, life was getting back to normal in Victoria. 

Delta cases were finally under control and I was back in the office a few days a week - almost all restrictions had been lifted. Omicron was unheard of and it really did seem like we were on the road to recovery.

At the time I started to suspect I was pregnant, Omicron was around but not yet deemed a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation.

At the time I did a pregnancy test, Omicron wasn’t in Australia yet.

The world changes quickly.

Fast forward just a couple of months, and half the people in my Facebook feed are isolating with COVID, while others flippantly remark “oh well, we’re all going to get it”.

Not such an easy pill to swallow for the immuno-compromised, disabled people and their carers, the elderly, those suffering or recovering from serious illness, or pregnant women.

If you find yourself or someone you know having an eye roll reaction to women who’ve fallen pregnant through COVID, let’s run through some of the reasons why us silly ladies would do such a thing.

Some will have been trying for years to have a baby and finally, finally this is their time.

Some will have suffered the anguish of miscarriage and be cautiously hoping that this time will work out, pandemic or no pandemic.

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Some will have undergone the physical, emotional, mental and financial exhaustion of IVF for many years and will have received the news it’s finally worked.

Some will have been on the roller coaster of infertility, IVF and miscarriage. Not a ride anyone wants to take.

Some pregnancies will be happy accidents.

Some will be rainbow babies.

Some women will be overwhelmed by biological pressures and figure it’s now or never.

Some women may have young children and not want too big an age gap between siblings.

This list is not exhaustive, but it indicates there are many and varied reasons why a woman would have a baby during a pandemic. 

Considering COVID was discovered in 2019 (yes, over three years ago) and shows no signs of magically disappearing, putting off pregnancy until it’s gone is simply not an option for a lot of people.

When I had my son in early 2020, COVID wasn’t yet classified as a pandemic - the main news stories at the time related to people panic-buying toilet paper. 

Soon after he was born, we were facing lockdowns, death counts and daily case number updates. I certainly never thought by the time we were ready to welcome another bub (by which time my son will be two-and-a-half years old), that we’d be facing the same battles. Who knows if everything will be back to ‘normal’ two years from now?

There are many pregnant women in the world right now, and it’s ridiculous to imagine they haven’t agonised over getting COVID, feared needing a hospital stay during a health crisis, worried about skipping major family events like weddings out of concern for their health, and being generally bloody stressed out. 

However, for many women, pregnancy doesn’t just happen, and waiting until we return to ‘normal’ could mean sacrificing the chance to have children altogether.

If you have ever made the type of comments at the start of this article, please try to be a bit more understanding.

On the other hand, if you’re a pregnant woman who’s seen - or heard - these types of remarks, remember that for every person querying why you’d do something as insane as HAVE A BABY, there are many more women in your suburb, in your city, in your country and indeed around the globe with the same anxieties and fears, and impending excitement for meeting their babies. 

One day we’ll tell our bubs what the early 2020s were like, and how our love for them overwhelmed the fear we felt.

Stay safe, Mamas. Whatever your reason for having a baby while COVID is around, I know it’s a good one.

Lara is a former journalist and editor now working in communications and advocacy. She is expecting her second baby later this year.

Feature Image: Supplied.