PREGNANT DURING GLOBAL ''PANDEMIC''
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Will you wear a mask during labour? 😨
Fear, chaos, uncertainty, confusion.
Everything is on hold. But life continues.
Babies won't wait in the womb for the different circumstances.
They have chosen to be born during this time.
How is it like to be pregnant during the ''pandemic'' ?
Pregnant in Guatemaya
We were in Guatemaya aka Guatemala when countries started to lock down.
Angelo was in the jungle on a few days trip around Tikal. I couldn't join the trip as planned as I was 11 weeks pregnant and they decided it was too risky and difficult in my state so I stayed in the village nearby. One day I woke up to the news that his country- The Philippines closed its borders.
Angelo of course had no clue because there was no reception in the jungle.
On the last day of his trip, I was waiting for him in Tikal and finally, after 3 days of separation I saw my man coming out of the jungle. Dirty and sweaty but very happy and energized. I told him it seems like we won't be able to return to the Philippines, the country is closed. ''So am I a refugee?''- he asked and we both laughed. We thought it was just a temporary situation and we will go back soon anyway.
I'm 35 weeks pregnant, writing these words from our temporary home in San Pedro- a village in Guatemala, situated by a beautiful Atitlan Lake.
Our baby is arriving in about 5 weeks. The Philippines is still closed for the foreigners so we were not able to go back together. Going back to Europe was not an option either.
I didn't finish this post during my pregnancy. I am writing the rest of it now, as Malaya is sleeping on my laps with her mouth wide open, fully satisfied, looking like she overdosed on mummy's milk.
Covid ruining pregnancies... 😢
Is it the virus or people though? ...
I joined a few pregnancy groups on Fb.
It’s a totally different dimension! 😂
They gave me so much insight into what’s happening in pregnant women’s minds and bodies. I was fascinated! I love observing people and hearing different perspectives so it was a perfect place to do it.
One theme that was very prevalent was of course Covid ruining pregnancies.
Women complained that the virus robbed them of all the fun activities and they couldn't fully enjoy their blessed state.
They had to forget about going to prenatal yoga classes, hanging out with friends in their favorite spots, baby showers, shopping with family and so on. Not to mention all the fear and stress that was surrounding it.
I never really had these needs and expectations so it wasn’t a big deal for me personally.
I actually really liked being stuck at my temporary home. I did my yoga alone and if I wanted to do something special we did it together with Angelo. It brought us so much closer together and helped us to work on our relationship. We did a major cleaning up before Malaya's arrival and prepared for our new roles as parents
The town was much quieter than before the lockdown without the noise from bars, parties and drunk gringos on the street. Generally there were much less people and traffic.
As the outside world was slowing down and getting quiet so was I- the further along in the pregnancy I was, the calmer and more internal I was becoming.
I look at it as a blessing...
I was going for walks by the Atitlan lake and getting sun whenever I felt like it. We live right by the lake and everything seemed normal- most people were not even wearing masks around here. I couldn't feel the fear in the air. Locals were always greeting me and smiling. I had some basic conversations using my very limited Spanish and I could feel the warmth and openness of San Pedranos. The only time we were reminded about the virus was when going to the town and local market, where rules were implemented. We had to be sprayed with some chemicals before entering the market and there were barriers all over the place, making the area really crowded as people had less space to walk on. Oh, and we had a curfew- for a long time we couldn't leave the house after 5 pm. At some point it shifted to 9 pm. Most rules didn't make any sense in my opinion but it didn't bother us much.
I think the circumstances for us were perfect but I can imagine it was not a scenario for most pregnant women at this time, stuck in big cities in their apartments. unable to enjoy their lives and share special moments with friends and family. .
But for most, skipping the pregnancy fun activities wasn’t the worst thing.
What made it so hard was ridiculous hospital policies. Luckily, I decided to birth at home so it didn't affect me but I could really empathize with them.
What about birth in a hospital? 😨
Women complained their partners are not allowed to come with them to ultrasounds and appointments... Can you imagine robbing a father from the experience of seeing his baby in the womb for the first time?
I had my first ultrasound in a private clinic in San Pedro, Guatemala and luckily they didn't have such policies. I remember how special it was for both of us to see Malaya on the screen and hear her heartbeat- I cried! I will never forget Angelo's look on his face. It was one of the best moments during the whole pregnancy. Another one was when we went to the second (which was the last) ultrasound to find out her gender. I really feel for all the mothers who couldn't experience these special moments together with their partners.
In many places women were denied having their partner or a support person with them during birth... Surrounded by strangers with no familiar face to offer comfort and encouragement.
I believe my partners Angelo's role during my birth was crucial and greatly contributed to my easy and fast delivery. Not to mention that it was so important for us that he would be the one to receive the baby. I believe the moment of birth is just as important for the father! It had a really big impact on him and I am hoping to get him on the camera to speak about it soon 😁
Fathers should never be denied their right to be present during birth! Mothers should never be denied support during labor!
Now let me shock you with the most ridiculous and outrageous thing I read:
some hospitals were making mothers giving birth IN A FREAKING MASK...!
Let it sink in for a moment...
I did not believe it when I read it at first but turns out it was an actual rule in some hospitals 🤦♀️
Nope, nope, nope... I can't imagine a woman being denied her right to breathe properly during labour...
I would probably get a panic attack if I had to give birth in a hospital in any circumstances, covid or not.
I think women who willingly decide to give birth there are pretty brave... Many people told me I am brave for giving birth at home (our story HERE) but I actually think it requires much more courage to go into a hospital and risk having all sorts of hospital policies and unnecessary interventions imposed on the mother and in many cases not being free to follow her own instincts during these moments.
Alone but not lonely
Here we are, in Guatemaya, far away from friends and family, in a very uncertain situation. I guess I could focus on the negatives and be angry that because of Covid (or rather decisions made by those in charge) we are ''stuck'' halfway across the globe, far from people we love. But I see so many positives, it would be ungrateful to complain about it. I have found so much beauty in this unusual situation.
I wish all pregnant women can find peace and joy during this time, whatever their circumstances are.
And remember, if you don't like hospital policies- do it at home! 😁
You got this, mama!