It’s a strange enough time going through a pandemic as a nation. Juggling work, filling your cupboards with dry pasta for fear of a food shortage, counting your toilet tissue and panicking when you get down to the last 18 rolls. But add a pregnancy in there and it all gets a little more complicated.
My booking appointment was on 1st June and I found myself having to justify to my midwife why I was still going in to work. ‘I can give you a letter that says you must shield during the pandemic and work from home if possible.’ But for my own sanity and mental stability I needed to go to work. I needed some sort of normality to remain in my life and the routine of getting up, putting on my uniform and seeing my colleagues gave me that. Plus, at that time, my husband was furloughed and was only working 3 days a week and I was not prepared for the inevitable divorce and single-mum life that would have occurred if we had spent all our time together.
I found being pregnant during the height of the pandemic a pretty lonely place to be. Although I was working, I was incredibly restricted (by choice and after discussions early on with my manager) as to what I could actually do as a compromise for going in to the office. You also find yourself in a position where you’re having to attend all your appointments by yourself and our hospital trust doesn’t allow you to film your scans or use your phone to video call. So suddenly this journey you’ve been on as a couple for years becomes incredibly one sided. Then your appointments stop being face-to-face and switch to 3 minute telephone calls with your midwife in an attempt to further protect the NHS and expectant mothers. All these measures made perfect logical sense and I understood the reasoning behind it but I still felt very isolated and alone.
My husband, as always, was wonderful. He didn’t question why I was crying in the middle of the frozen aisle in Tesco when the food shortage resulted in a lack of any type of ice lolly I was craving. He encouraged me to rest and nap whenever I needed to, and let me tell you now I napped an awful lot from weeks 5-11 as the exhaustion fully took hold of my body, so much so that we were convinced that there was twins in there. And he only laughed at me once when the smell of the cat using the litter tray made me instantly throw up before he could smell anything himself. I fully recognise that as much as it isn’t easy for pregnant women, it must be equally hard and just as difficult for their partners to go through.
They say when you are pregnant you suddenly become hyper aware of your surroundings for fear of putting your tiny growing baby in harms way. Throw an invisible virus in to the mix and all of a sudden your anxiety towards normal every day activities increases tenfold.
It’s not all loneliness and negativity. There have been plenty of positives to this situation
- It was incredibly easy for us to keep this a little secret until we were practically bursting to tell our friends and family. There was no having to explain why I wasn’t drinking or eating certain foods as we weren’t allowed to see people.
- At work, where I was holed away upstairs, it was easy for me to take myself away to the loos when the morning sickness kicked in.
- Telling our family was made even more special by the fact that the pandemic impacted everyone in different ways. They have all been by our side for the last couple of years so to be able to share this incredible news with them during such a tough time for so many was amazing and gave everyone something to look forward to.
- Covid-19 was easily transferable as a justifiable excuse. ‘What did you do on your day off?’ ‘Not much I could do so I just slept and stayed in my pjs.’ No pressure to make elaborate plans because we couldn’t physically go anywhere or do anything.
- Travel to and from work has been an absolute dream. Normally I’d be on a packed bus for half an hour sat next to a school kid who seemed adverse to the idea of a daily shower or deodorant. Whereas, on many occasions I found myself the only passenger on the bus. The driver was often my personal chauffeur.
- The amount of money we saved during lockdown has gone towards paying off debts, decorating the house and buying bits for the baby and the nursery. Without the pandemic I doubt we would have been this comfortable financially and I definitely wouldn’t have my beautiful new sofas.
Don’t get me wrong, I feel incredibly privileged to be pregnant, even through a pandemic and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I’m just certain that many expectant women will agree that this isn’t how they envisioned their first pregnancy to be. But only time will tell how this all pans out. My due date is bang in the middle of winter when they’re supposedly expecting a second wave. Right now we’re happy, we’re healthy and we’re all ticking along quite nicely in the Bloomer household.