While pregnancy is usually a wondrous experience for any woman, it’s also never an easy time. Whether she has a healthy pregnancy surrounded by supportive loved ones, or it’s nine months beset with challenges, every pregnancy is a time of rapid change in a woman’s body and lifestyle.
Fortunately, parents usually have almost a year to prepare for the arrival of their baby. That’s enough time for saving up, visiting the obstetrician for wellness checks, getting the nursery ready, and spending time with family and friends before getting swallowed up by diaper duties.
This year turned everything upside down for many expectant parents when the new normal happened and families all over the world stayed home. Three women shared how it’s like to be pregnant under these circumstances.
Marga, 28, was in her first trimester when the health crisis happened. “I was a bit stressed because my wedding was on March 13! The President announced it the day before and we were already checked in the hotel,” the YouTuber mom-to-be said. “It was a stressful time as guests from abroad had to suddenly fly home even if they had just arrived, because [there would be] no international flights during that period.”
Haze, 35, was entering her second trimester when the first cases hit Singapore, where she lived with her husband. “It was a non-issue at first. But as the days turned into weeks, the worries started to kick in. We had not done ‘baby shopping’ [yet] and all stores had started to close. Everything had to be bought and done online. Even shopping for necessities became more difficult. We were worried if we would have enough stock of anything.”
Like Haze, Kriska wasn’t alarmed at the time. “I didn‘t imagine the lockdown to last for as long as it did, so in the beginning, I didn’t get bothered by it,” the preschool teacher said. “But then when it was obvious that it would take longer than two weeks, I panicked! How was I going to keep my toddler entertained the whole day while going through my pregnancy?”
Health and safety first
More than preparing their homes for the arrival of a new member, the moms’ most important concern was how to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Marga began to worry when her obstetrician stopped seeing patients and even responding to text messages. “Luckily, I found another OB. Although she was two hours away from me, her clinic was in a building [separated from] the hospital, and she had her own ultrasound machine. It felt much safer for both me and the baby.”
Kriska was cautious about getting exposed, and how it would affect her and her baby. However, her worries eased when her OB’s clinic implemented the necessary safety measures.
Marga was concerned about unnecessary exposure in the hospital. “I was figuring out the perfect time to go to the hospital, to avoid heading there too early because of false or early contractions,” says Marga. “I worried about not getting the proper care, with hospitals being at full capacity, and bringing home the virus to my senior parents.”
The biggest challenge
However, the hardest challenge was having to give birth alone. To protect moms and newborns, hospitals enforce strict safety protocols like limiting the number of guests and maintaining two-meter social distancing. While it’s for everyone’s safety, it also means that your husband can’t be there to hold your hand in the delivery room. Even visiting hours are limited.
It also means that moms can’t turn to relatives or friends for help after giving birth “Being in Singapore and away from home and family made me realize that by the time I give birth, we won’t have extra help from family. It will just basically be me and my husband,” says Haze.
Despite her loneliness, Haze was still counting her blessings. “Luckily we were in, I believe, the best place to be in times like these. Efficient Singapore was ready, and there wasn’t much adjustment to check-up schedules. We were able to do all monthly and eventually weekly check-ups virtually without hassle.”
However, whatever worries and challenges they faced were far outweighed by the joy of finally seeing their baby. In some ways, the obstacles even helped strengthen their relationship and sense of gratitude.
Haze, who had just given birth to her son, Luca Orion, is all aglow with motherhood and a new appreciation for her husband. She looks back on the last five months with fondness. “Trying to stay positive during lockdown was a bit difficult because of all the worries and uncertainties that came with it. But I was blessed with a perfect lockdown partner. We were able to have quality time with each other before Luca’s arrival. We got to enjoy each other’s company, cooking and baking for our tiny family, and we tried new things to make and do to pass the time,” she shared. “We’ve proven beyond doubt that we are made for each other. Months of 24/7, in-your-face togetherness, and never once did we feel the urge to choke each other!”
Marga also revealed that it’s time with the father of her baby she appreciated most. “My husband is a professional basketball player, and if we weren’t going through this, he wouldn’t be able to spend as much time with me,” she said. “He’s been very hands-on and helpful and we’ve gotten much closer!”
Marga added another joy she wasn’t expecting. “We moved home to my parents’ house in Alabang and I’m grateful that I’ve been spending a lot of time with them.”
For Kriska, the new normal gave her something precious: bonding moments with her toddler. “We’ve spent so much time with each other—we‘ll never be able to do this again once the second baby comes,” she admitted. And her husband now has a new appreciation for what moms have to go through! “My husband had to work from home for weeks and he gained a deeper understanding of how much work it entails to spend a whole day with your child. It brought us even closer together!”
Even if the New Normal can be difficult, these new moms discovered that family truly is where joy rests.
About The Writer
FRANCES AMPER SALES
Frances Amper Sales is a writer for beauty, lifestyle, and parenting publications. She was the happy editor-in-chief of entertainment title, OK! Philippines, until she made the happier decision to work from home and raise her three sons with her husband, a novelist and editor. While Frances has always enjoyed her career, it was only when she began writing her parenting adventures on her blog, www.topazhorizon.com, that she felt that her writing mattered as thousands of fellow moms and working women shared how her candid and honest stories inspired them to embrace motherhood without pressure and guilt, just love.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.