Getting a positive on the dipstick triggered an avalanche of feelings. I was overjoyed; jumping everywhere with excitement. But as the news broke out about the COVID-19 all my big plans blurred out. From being happy and nervous to getting shocked and confused, I went through a whirlpool of distressful emotions.
Pregnancy itself is a surreal journey of unknown adventures and life-turning experiences bundled with fickle emotions. But being pregnant during the pandemic was a whole new thing to me. These last two years were the toughest, the best and the unforgettable ones.
The moment it all began
I was only four weeks pregnant when I watched the BBC news about a virus in Wuhan, China. I thought it was just like any other virus and would end soon. However, within a week things got pretty rough and out of control. And soon we were all locked inside our house; restricted to meeting and greeting anyone.
I was so excited to welcome my firstborn; I had a lot of plans in mind. I wanted to go shopping, organize baby showers, dinners and meetups with my girls. But all those plans were slowly fading away leaving fear and stress behind.
I read during pregnancy women stay mentally fuzzy but here I was mentally disturbed, depressed and worried. I knew that a high level of stress is not good for the baby. It may cause premature delivery and low birth weight in babies. So, I followed my nutritional diet chart.
However, with every passing day, the tension got bigger. It was not long before my close friends and family got the virus and were isolated. I couldn’t meet anyone, not even my mother let alone share my feelings. I felt that the world was betraying me, getting envious of my happiness.
My third trimester
Fast forward to the last days of pregnancy. I managed to shop a little; collected only the most essential baby accessories, clothes and gear. When I was planning to decorate a full nursery, I managed to get a handful of things as my husband was laid off during the crisis. We had to save what little money we had. Even though my husband is someone who is always ahead of the curve when it comes to financial planning, even he was struggling to figure things out. Still, he reassured me every step of the way.
I was clinging to the positivity’s and venting out the negativities which were too strong to occupy more than half of my brain. As I got heavier, slower and snobby, I was mostly resting on couches scrolling and checking out the news.
My time at the hospital
I’ve never got a chance to closely witness pregnancy or the experience of giving birth. I thought my family and friends would be there for me. But they were all struggling through those dreadful days. So, I packed my bag and headed to the hospital with my husband who was asked to stay out as no attendant was allowed inside the labour room.
I was surrounded by a bunch of strangers and only knew my doctor. Throughout that time I kept wearing my mask which was suffocating. When the cramps started I found myself short with breath. I was crying deeply and was in an agony of pain. I desperately wanted my husband to be with me. I felt alone and in severe pain. Just when I was about to give up, my doctor held my hand and said, “You gotta do this. You have to do this for your family and yourself. Just keep breathing and calm yourself down.”
Those words were enough to help me muster up the courage.
My time through postpartum depression
Just when you think that Alas it’s all over you hear the crying voice of your baby hungry to feed on you. And that’s the moment when you realize that things are just starting. Although I was relieved to have delivered a healthy baby safe and sound, the tension around me was not any less. We were going through the second wave of the Pandemic. The number of cases and deaths spiked to 500,000 globally as per the WHO report.
Yet I was alone to handle the newly born baby all on my own. Sleepless nights, cramps, sweaty shirts, eyes sunken deep with insomnia, those were a few damages done to my body. The biggest hit was mental. I was cranky, annoyed, frustrated and agitated. I needed help but couldn’t ask for it. ‘
I dug into researching and found helpful ways to combat postpartum depression and practised them regularly until I began to see a change.
It was a dark time for us but the only beacon of happiness was our baby. My husband stood close to me. And together we handled everything and googled the things we didn’t know. My family too recovered from the virus and found safer ways to meet us. And soon we were all able to get a hold of things.