I know there is never really a “best” time to have a baby, but there has to be a better time than in the middle of a deadly pandemic.
When we decided to try for a child, my work was stable and the world was plodding along.
I found out I was pregnant as summer bushfires ravaged Australia, on the eve of the 12-week scan my employer AAP announced it would close and then just as swiftly, coronavirus sent society into lockdown.
For almost half my pregnancy I have been locked at home, unable to celebrate the usual milestones with loved ones or even experience the normal rigmarole of medical appointments.
With the exception of ultrasounds and my first GP appointment, everything has been by phone.
It’s hard to be excited about things, even when they are as huge as creating new life, when you don’t see anyone.
And it’s hard to feel you are getting the best care.
Medical professionals I speak to during telehealth appointments are diligent and as thorough as they can be, but they cannot see the physical cues of whether you are coping and my blood pressure has to be taken at a pharmacy.
There were tears (mine) when my GP temporarily allowed only one person at a time in the consultation room. It made sense, but my husband wants to be there for each appointment.
There were more tears (mine again) when the idea partners would be banned from delivery rooms was bandied about. Thankfully that’s not going to happen.
It has been, frankly, one of the weirdest experiences of my life.
At times it’s felt earth-shatteringly lonely – my parents and sister live on the other side of the country in Perth, where the state government has set a hard border.
Mum, who has waited years for a grandchild, now can’t do something as simple as shopping with her daughter for the new arrival.
I know we will get there and I am sure we will be fine. For now I have work and so does my husband and I am forever grateful for his kindness and patience during this emotional rollercoaster.
As the baby grows I can feel it move and in those moments I pause, giving myself the chance to soak it up and get excited for changes soon to come.
But if we have another baby, I desperately hope it’s not in lockdown.
Australian Associated Press