The road to motherhood is often described as one of the most exciting times in your life. It’s a time of being surrounded by the people you love the most as they support and help you get ready to build a family. There are the baby showers, the gifts, the trips to the OBGYN, and even shopping for baby clothes or toys.
Unfortunately, that experience was robbed from thousands of expecting mothers with the outbreak of COVID-19 all over the world. All of a sudden, baby showers are cancelled, visiting family and friends are out of the picture, and consulting OBGYNs just became a lot harder to do.
“This is my first pregnancy, so there’s already a pre-existing list of things that I’m uncertain about,” Niña, a first-time mother in her third trimester, writes back to us in an email. “I guess I feel more challenged now because as much as I would want to plan ahead, I can’t.”
All of Niña’s prenatal check-ups were postponed until after the ECQ is lifted. She can only see her doctor if there’s an emergency or when she’s about to give birth. Under normal conditions, she would’ve learned by now the sex of her baby and if the child has high or low risk of having abnormalities. There’s no doubt that having to worry about the world outside and inside the home can cause extreme amounts of stress and pressure.
Normally when dealing with stress, we often turn to our friends and family for support and help. Even wishes of good luck over social media can help a lot. However, when Aimee and her partner found out about her pregnancy 2 weeks ago, the “normal” way of announcing it wasn’t really an option.
“When we found out, I was so ecstatic to share my pregnancy (being a first), but since social media was flooded with COVID-19 news and people dying, I felt like my news became so out of place and it felt insensitive,” she says in her email. “This though didn’t lessen the joy of being pregnant. It made me feel like I was back in the 80’s or 90’s when social media wasn’t present yet. The news only mattered to people who matter to you and its really okay.”
Not everything is lost right now. Niña, Aimee, along with other expecting mothers in the Philippines, have found new ways to stay connected to the people who matter all over the country. Social media platforms like Messenger and Zoom are key now in keeping touch with friends and family. Video and phone calls are getting more and more interactive to bring people closer together. Whether it be through games on Messenger video, multiplayer game apps, or just simply calling each other and keeping up with our loved ones, it’s clear that there’s no bar to the love we can share from the comforts of our home. People are still making these moments special, and are handling it in unique ways.
“I’ve asked some family members to send recordings of them telling stories or poems that I can play for the baby,” Niña says, while explaining how she’s maintaining her connection with her support systems in her life. While these milestones may not be conventional, they are still equally special. If there’s anything that this quarantine is teaching us, it’s that even in our darkest times, we are not alone.