What a time to be pregnant, huh?!
By now, this virus has affected pretty much anyone that might be reading this. No matter where you are. Whether you are being asked to stay at home or you know someone with the virus, this has touched all of our lives.
My brother said to me recently, “I think it’s never really the perfect time to be having a kid.” And, while that might be true, I think this particular period of history is a little unprecedented. Yes, it is always stressful to be pregnant. But, I might argue it is considerably more stressful to be pregnant (especially with your first child) during a pandemic.
The other day, I wrote what I hoped to be a reassuring blog with some information about pregnancy and the coronavirus. You can find it under Categories in the sidebar menu to the right side of the page, entitled "Coronavirus."
(The Categories sidebar is in alphabetical order. If you are new to my blog and would like to read my posts in chronological order, you have to use the archives. I’d also recommend reading the Welcome to my Site post as it will give you a clearer picture of what I’m trying to create here. And I apologize for any formatting errors. I am new to blogging and still working out the frustrating kinks!)
The truth is that, while most doctors agree on the information that I shared the other day, they also agree that there haven’t been enough reported cases of pregnant women with the virus to be certain of anything just yet. I have read a couple of recent articles involving a study of UK patients that suggested a few infants whose mothers had the virus did show symptoms after birth (though all of but one were mild and didn’t require medical intervention.) However, there was one baby that did have difficulty breathing and required medical assistance and recovered quickly thereafter.
That’s why I am writing this now, because I don’t want to mislead anyone. Frankly, nothing is certain yet. Most everything that doctors say in regards to pregnancy and the virus, at this moment, is conjecture based on what few cases we do have on record. But, so far, their conjectures are mostly reassuring.
Nonetheless, the UK has listed pregnant women in the same risk category as people aged over seventy. If you read into why, it’s because anyone who is recommended to get a flu vaccine is listed as an at-risk person. The idea being that, the same with the flu, if a pregnant woman were to fall ill with this, she might have a more severe case. Specifically, she might have a prolonged fever, and therefore a risk of miscarriage.
The other rationale I read was that, as the baby grows bigger, our organs shift and there is strain on our lungs; as well as the fact that we are already breathing for two. With that in mind, it’s not irrational to assume a pregnant woman in her third trimester might have an extra hard time with a virus that targets the lungs. Given all of my research, and therefore to the best of my knowledge, thankfully very few pregnant women with COVID-19 have had severe cases. So, hopefully, the likelihood of this is rare.
In my opinion, everyone should be staying at home as much as possible right now. I have a surprising number of friends and acquaintances who, even now, believe the coronavirus to be an overhyped flu. They still go out; several are on vacation in Florida. I, personally, find this behavior reprehensible as they are endangering not only themselves, but the lives of countless others. But, perhaps there is reason to suggest that we pregnant women should be that much more cautious. We ought to severely limit our contact with other people and practice social distancing when we do go need to go out. And if you are not already in a state where shelter-in-place is mandated, you should self-isolate as much as possible.
This virus is not just stressful in terms of our health, it’s scary financially as well. My husband and I were both restaurant workers so, like many, we are now out of a job. I had already missed roughly three weeks of work prior to this debacle. My restaurant had done some renovations and the paint/varnish fumes made me horribly sick, so I couldn’t be in the building. (Sensitive noses can be a pain sometimes!) After that, I caught the flu. The actual flu, don’t worry, not the coronavirus. So, it was already hard enough saving for our first baby BEFORE… now, it’s impossible! If you are feeling similar strains, I’m right there with you. I know many are in the same boat.
Thankfully, I live in a state that has stepped up its unemployment program to embrace all of us who are affected by the virus. We should be getting our benefits in the next week. Of course, it is not enough to be putting anything into savings. But I am grateful that it should be enough to cover our mortgage and our bills. Right now, that is more than a lot of people have. I don’t know how we are going to afford all of the baby supplies we still need, now that a shower seems very unrealistic, but I suppose we will just cross that bridge when we get there. One day at a time, right?
As bad as it is for me and many others, though, I cannot even imagine what health workers are enduring right now. Many have to be quarantined away from their families and the general public. That really puts it into perspective for me. All I’m being asked to do is stay at home!
These are certainly scary times that we are in, friends. But stress and panic only make it worse!
I’ve said this before, but I’ll repeat it now:
stress is far more harmful to my unborn baby than this virus likely would be.
(It’s pretty much my mantra these days.)
So what do we do about that? How do you combat stress in a time of extreme uncertainty and worldwide struggle?
Personally, I focus on the things that I am grateful for.
I am grateful that I have a roof over my head and plenty of food to eat.
I am grateful that my family members are safe.
And, though it is true quarantine is an inconvenience, I’ll be honest and say that I am grateful I have so much free time!
This as an excellent time to tackle all those projects that I’ve been wanting to for ages but have never found the time.
I can catch up on reading that stack of books on my shelves that have been gathering dust.
I can write! I am working more on my novel.
I can stay in shape and workout from home (I never liked going to the gym anyway.)
I can learn a language online or teach myself to play guitar.
I can prepare the baby’s room and organize the house.
My husband is delighted because he can play FIFA on the Xbox as soon as he wakes up with zero judgment. "I'm being socially responsible," he can say now with a grin.
My point is that there are endless opportunities to fill our time with!
And, though these are scary, unchartered waters we are all swimming in… there are certainly things to be grateful for.
Personally, I want to use this time as wisely as I can.
Eventually, life WILL return to normal and we will all go back to our busy lives.
I hope that I won’t look back on this period with regret, wishing I had done more.
I want to make the best of this bad situation.
In the coming weeks, we will all be tested. Whether it’s our patience, or our wallets, or our health… we will all feel the strain of the coronavirus. Unfortunately, this isn’t going to go away anytime soon. Let's be good to each other in this time of need. And try and take these days to appreciate what you can.
If you are a parent who never gets enough time with your kids, enjoy these moments.
If you are partners who work on opposite schedules, enjoy your time together.
I will keep writing here. Pregnant during the coronavirus—stay tuned!
But, as always, I promise to find some positivity to share during these dark days.
Please share your experiences with me as well!
If you are expecting, too, how do you feel being pregnant right now?
What has your quarantine experience been like?
How has the coronavirus impacted your life?
What are you grateful for?
I'm Kelsey! Proud Iowan native, world traveler, writer, wife to the most incredible husband, and now soon to be mother