When Nua asked me to share my experiences of pregnancy during lockdown, I was both excited and nervous. Excited because I hadn’t written anything in a long time and nervous because I was worried it wouldn’t resonate with people, be either too chirpy or too casual. Having spent a lot more time than I ever would reading posts and articles over the last few months, I reasoned that the ones I enjoyed were the ones that kept it real, so I’m going to do my best to do that here.
Being pregnant and in lockdown isn’t ideal, but then nothing about lockdown and coronavirus is. In that sense, it hasn’t been too different for me than if I were not pregnant. Fortunately lockdown came into place as I was in my second trimester – I have just entered my third – a time that is most stable and least uncomfortable.
I’ve been able to stay active and I have an amazing trainer and yoga instructor; Zoom workouts with them every morning have definitely been a huge part of what’s kept me sane. That’s not to say I haven’t had some pregnancy meltdowns – I allow myself one major pity party every month during which I accuse my husband of everything from speaking too loudly to the loss of my freedom for the rest of my life. These are followed up with much regret and embarrassment – I have always thought of myself as the more emotionally even one. I’ve offered him his own meltdown days in return, but secretly I’m not sure my pregnancy hormones can handle being blamed for trash in the ocean.
I imagine this to be the case for many people – feeling fine and getting on with it until you find a stretch mark on your knee and everything falls apart. Or at least I hope I’m not the only one!
In some ways and on some days, I think lockdown pregnancy might actually have some perks. The first of which is that it has given me, my husband and our family something amazing to look forward to regardless of what the coronavirus situation is in August. While I know many pregnant women, including me, are concerned about doctor visits, deliveries and how to source the staggering amount of things such a small human requires, it’s also meant that we’ve gone back to a simpler way of doing things. I like to think most of us turned out alright – our parents checked in with doctors just a few times through the nine months and didn’t have most of what we think are essential baby items today. It’s given me a chance to think about what we really need, and I’ve been honing my DIY decor skills until I can get materials for the things I plan to make. I can say this because no one is going to be allowed home to witness the results anyway.
While we’re on the topic of home isolation, this has also been a revelation. Both my husband and I are major space cadets – in that each of us likes our own space a lot. I was worried that the combination of 24 hour exposure + pregnancy hormones was not going to go down, well but it’s actually been great. While he won’t allow me to speak to him at all during work hours – even though I continue to argue that he’s effectively evicted me from my office, we’ve discovered that he’s a great cook and he’s yet to take a pity party day for himself. The lockdown has also given us time together, pre-baby, that we would never have had under normal circumstances.
Finally and most importantly, it’s a time that has me appreciating every single person in my life in a way that I hope to never forget. Our family and friends have organized everything for us so that we can stay home and safe, kept us in splits over video chats and kept the excitement around our baby so high that I forget to worry at all.
Would I do it again? Not in a million years. Our child will have to roll solo until I’m certain pregnancy 2.0 will be one of freedom and effectively zero home-made food (okay, not really – as a nutritionist, this would be way off brand).
Has it taught me to be grateful for the things I have and rethink my life a bit? Absolutely. I remind myself everyday of how incredibly lucky we are compared to so many people out there and I know that’s something we will make sure to teach our baby as well.
If you’re in the same boat or thinking about dipping your toes into what are currently fairly murky pregnancy waters, take comfort from an article I recently read. It charted the relative success of children of stability vs. pandemic babies – the latter came out winning. So for all of us soon-to-be parents, the future will be filled with highly driven doers that will make the world a better place to live in. And at the very least, we will have some amazing stories to tell.
By Alekha Engineer