WOMEN

HuffPost Her Stories: The Anxiety Of Giving Birth Amid The Coronavirus

Plus: A book to read while you’re stuck at home.
Pregnant women are being forced to confront new anxieties during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pregnant women are being forced to confront new anxieties during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hi, readers —

“I’m just not excited anymore,” I told my husband Sunday through tears. My daughter could arrive any day now, and the few things we were able to plan regarding her birth are even more up in the air because of the coronavirus pandemic.

When I read associate editor Victoria Richards’ article on HuffPost U.K. about being pregnant in this uncertain time, it perfectly reflected my feelings. 

“To be honest, it’s the lack of information that is more perplexing,” expectant mom Elly Branner says in the piece, speaking of her concern that the restrictions on hospital visitors could limit her husband’s time with her. (For us, as of now, my husband and doula will be allowed in but no other visitors will be able to come to the hospital.) 

“It’s not how I imagined the birth of our first baby and it’s left me really upset,” notes Hannah Whitten, referring to how family members who had planned to visit for her birth are no longer able to. “It has completely robbed me of what should be the most wonderful time of my life.”

The research available suggests pregnant women are not at overly high risk to contract serious cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, even though pregnant women are generally more susceptible to respiratory illnesses as their bodies undergo immune changes. And with such little definitive information on COVID-19 available, many are understandably worried about the risks to them and their children, pre- and post-birth. It’s a situation that’s adding more stress during a time that would already be filled with anxiety.

On HuffPost U.S., guest writer Christine Meade shares how she feels six weeks from her due date. Among other things, she’s been trying to balance the feeling she should exercise for a healthy pregnancy and her concerns about potentially picking up germs at the gym. 

I experienced this last weekend when I headed to my weekly prenatal yoga class (one of my few social activities at this point in my pregnancy), only to turn around halfway there. I panicked, thinking I might be making the wrong decision and exposing myself and my baby to the coronavirus there. (The yoga studio has since closed as the pandemic continues.)

Staying calm in this environment is tough. I’m trying to be open to the idea that I may not even be able to control the few things I thought I would be able to. And a plan for birth that might be feasible today might have to change if I give birth tomorrow. It’s comforting to know I’m not the only pregnant woman with these fears and anxieties right now. And, yes, as well-meaning friends continue to remind me right now, it will be an interesting story to tell our daughter down the road — and I’m sure someday (after she’s safely here and this immediate threat has passed) I’ll embrace that.

Are you anxious about being pregnant or caring for a newborn during the pandemic? Do you have other worries you’re encountering because of the coronavirus? Share your story with me.

In the meantime, Her Stories is going to take a break while our HuffPost teams focus on bringing you comprehensive coverage of the pandemic. We hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and we look forward to returning to your inbox soon.

Take care of yourselves,

Sara Bondioli, editor, HuffPost U.S.

 

Follow HuffPost’s live blog for up-to-date coverage on the coronavirus pandemic from all of our global editions, and be sure to check your country’s HuffPost homepage for other news during this time. Also, follow reporter Victoria Richards (@nakedvix) on Twitter to read more of her work. 

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