Having a Baby During COVID-19: The Best of Times and the Worst of Times
Every aspect of daily life – from family and friends to work and food supplies – is now seen through the prism of the Coronavirus, which means that if you are about to have a baby you must keep a calm head – writes theAsianparent’s Dean Carroll
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” This isn’t just the most profound sentence from A Tale of Two Cities, the Charles Dickens novel. No, this is also the sentiment that will sum up this period for me once we come out the other side of the Coronavuris crisis.
For although the world is in unparalleled turmoil, in four weeks from now my wife will give birth and our baby daughter will be born into this world. As you would expect, like any prospective parents, we are extremely excited about our new arrival. At the same time, we are increasingly concerned about what society might look like upon her entrance into the world and thereafter.
Dealing with ‘Social Distancing’ from Close Family
On top of that, there are the great unknowns. For instance, just how long will it be before she can meet her grandparents, aunties, uncles and cousins? As we are an international family with close relatives in Vietnam, Cambodia, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States you have to think it will be some time.
Social distancing is here, and perhaps to stay for a prolonged period. The aviation industry is dangling on the precipice. And travel restrictions will be in place for a good while, even after COVID-19 is fully under control, one suspects.
In the meantime, how do we take maximum precautions to ensure that our daughter is safe and isn’t exposed to the virus? After all, we still have to go to the hospital for check-ups and birth. We still have to work. We still have to get fresh food from the shops (Sorry, e-commerce but you haven’t quite nailed the fruit and vegetables vertical just yet).
To be honest, while we are managing to stay calm, there are many things that just seem beyond our control right now. What is within our grasp is avoiding face-to-face contact with people, staying home whenever possible, wearing a mask and washing our hands properly.
Having a baby during COVID-19: It Will Shape the Lives of our Children
While we remain optimistic that an improving situation in both China and South Korea might provide the globe with the positive rebound story it so badly needs right now, at the same time we are not buying Donald Trump’s assertion that things can start getting back to normal by Easter.
In fact, the meaning of the word ‘normal’ itself might have to be completely redefined over the coming weeks and months. Indeed, the US president’s ‘normalcy’ claims seem just as fanciful as the Coronavirus 5G and bio-weapon conspiracy theories rapidly spreading across the internet.
It is certainly clear then that this could be the defining event of our lifetime. More so than the global financial crisis of 2008. More so than the end of the Cold War. More so even than 9-11. Make no mistake, this is a landmark moment in history. Our daughter is not yet aware of it, but her life – at least the early part – will be shaped by the crisis.
Craft a Strategy to Tune out from Coronavirus News
As I mentioned though, we are suppressing the zombie apocalypse feelings and focusing on how lucky we are to be having a child; even if the timing could have been better. One distraction strategy is we will often switch the (bad) news off and have some virus-free time where we tune out completely and do fun things.
Like putting the finishing touches to the nursery, for example. Or playing children’s songs. Or reading a story aloud. My wife especially has developed some ingenious coping mechanisms. Pregnant women are like superheroes you know. And thank goodness for that. They, like the babies that will be born during these tough times, are the bastions of hope for a better tomorrow.
Let’s all keep sight of that. And let’s try to stay positive about what comes next. For once we hit the nadir – and China and South Korea suggest we might have done so – that means things can only get better from then on. In fact, our worst fears might not be realised at all so let’s not worry too much about them unless they actually happen. Keeping calm and staying strong is key folks.
With that in mind, I, for one, am truly looking forward to the day when I can sit my daughter down on my knee and tell her all about what a strange year 2020 was – and how she was the best thing to come out of it by a country mile. Now, won’t that be something? It’s the sort of narrative Dickens himself might have written about. Onward and upwards.