It's on all of our minds.
Schools are being closed, concerts cancelled, whole cities on shutdown.
We’ve seen virus scares before… SARS, H1N1, bird flu… but never like this. Never has there been a global reaction like this before, at least not in my lifetime or that of anyone else that I know.
It is a scary time to be pregnant!
But, in case you don’t already know, here are some facts that you might find reassuring:
I see a lot of women on social media who are panicked. Anxiety is through the roof when it comes to thinking about how this will affect our families and our children.
I also see a lot of people who are, strangely, trying to downplay the virus as a “media stunt” or an “overreaction.”
I think an appropriate response is to fall somewhere in between those two extremes.
The good news is that this is not the end of the world!
But the bad news is that, yes, this virus is serious.
For most of us, we will have a mild case and then have the antibodies so that we do not contract it again.
But, for the elderly or those with compromised immune systems (of whom there are a lot in the world!) this is a big deal.
We all need to be cautious, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones and the strangers with whom we come into contact with that might be at-risk.
It is dangerous to spread misinformation and to insinuate that this is all some sort of election-year conspiracy (another theory I’ve seen gaining a lot of traction.) It is not. This is real, folks, but let’s arm ourselves with facts!
There are a few myths I’ve seen circulating that I would like to dispel.
Of course, I am not a medical professional. But members of my family are and I have been keeping myself very well read on this subject.
An excellent source of information that I learned a lot from was a podcast with Joe Rogan and a member of the Center for Infectious Disease—give it a listen!
One of the things he talks about are preventative measures—what can we do to keep ourselves from getting sick?
Well, here’s the bad news. Not a whole lot.
I see a lot of tutorials and funny memes about handwashing and how long to wash your hands, to sing Happy Birthday etc… And of course we should all wash our hands! (We should have been doing so anyway!) The virus can live on surfaces, so it’s possible if you touch the door-handle after a sick person has and then you touch your face, that you can get infected.
But, unfortunately, this virus is airborne. And data suggests that, so far, most of the contracted illnesses have been from breathing the same air as those that are infected. That is why it is recommended that at-risk individuals avoid crowded areas. That is also why the cruise ships we have been seeing have been cesspools of infection, because the contaminated air has been being circulated throughout the whole ship! So, yes, wash your hands… but, also, it’s important for us to be realistic.
Which brings me to one of the myths I’d like to dispel: face masks. The surgical masks you see everyone wearing, like the ones in the photo I’ve used—people, these are useless when it comes to keeping you from getting infected! Surgical masks were designed to prevent surgeons from sweating droplets or breathing onto patients’ open wounds. They aren’t designed to keep germs away from the surgeon! They are not airtight.
If you are sick, you should wear a facemask out of courtesy to others. It will not be a foolproof method, but it will help prevent you from infecting others. That’s the only time you should wear a facemask.
The only facemasks that are effective are the ones we should be reserving for our medical professionals. Of course our instincts are to protect ourselves and to protect our families. But, right now it’s time to think about the community on a whole as well. Because, it is most likely that you will have a mild case if you catch this virus. But, for those that don’t, they will need a doctor. So we need as many doctors and nurses in the field as possible!
Look at Italy, after all. They have such a shortage of medical staff that they are unable to treat the influx of patients they have and, as a result, they are having to assess which patients they let die. That’s not because they don’t have the medicine to treat them, it’s because they don’t have the staff! How insane is that?
This is another picture we've all been seeing a lot of, right? The empty shelves of toilet paper. Let's talk about that, too.
Obviously, it is not logical to panic-buy and stock up for a year-long quarantine’s worth of items.
Panicking is never helpful, but remember that stress can actually be more harmful to your unborn baby than this virus can. So, whatever you do, let’s not panic!
But, is it rational to have an extra stockpile of some non-perishable essentials? Probably. The reality is that we all might be asked to stay home for a while to try and quell the spread. Again, this isn’t really for those of us that are healthy. It’s to protect those of us that aren’t.
Does that mean you should buy enough for the year? No. Be rational, people. The last thing we need are shortages of these necessary items. Factories can only make toilet paper so fast, so let's not buy so much that the whole country runs out!
So, in these scary times, remember:
We and our babies will be okay. So there is no reason for panic-level stress or anxiety.
But, also, let’s not downplay, either. Be conscientious for those in our society who are at-risk and vulnerable.
At the very least, this is an eventful time to bring a child into the world! Think of the stories we’ll be able to tell them when they get older!
For those of you who might be following my blog, yes I did discover the gender of our baby yesterday! Don’t worry, I am working on my next post! It will include our gender reveal but also a discussion on gender roles and how that pertains to children in this modern age.
I just woke up this morning and this seemed a far more pressing topic than my personal life. Stay safe and stay healthy, folks! This is a good time to be thoughtful and helpful to those around us. We will need a strong community to get through this as a society, but we will get through this!
And stay tuned for my next post! I promise it will be a happier one!
I'm Kelsey! Proud Iowan native, world traveler, writer, wife to the most incredible husband, and now soon to be mother