Lockdown babies: New moms share their experiences
‘My main fear was if I will be allowed to step outside in case of an emergency.’
Becoming a mother is quite a life-changing experience. For any woman, ushering a new life into this world makes her feel both overwhelmingly powerful and fearful. These are strange times we are living in. While on one hand apprehensions about the future are rife, on the other, new lives are being welcomed around the world every day.
This Mother’s Day, indianexpress.com reached out to new mothers for whom this is a first-time celebration. While some are wary and doing everything they can to keep their babies safe, others are sharing their experience of having delivered their babies amid the ongoing lockdown.
On May 5, 2020, Pune-based Neha — a homemaker — delivered a baby boy via a C-section at a Cloudnine Hospital in the city. Speaking to indianexpress.com from the hospital, she said: “Initially, I was experiencing these mixed feelings. I was scared thinking how I am going to give birth in this environment. I even got tested for COVID-19 before I was admitted. Before the test results came in, I was in an isolation ward. Later, when I saw the room that was assigned to me, I was at ease.”
“Towards the end of the third trimester, I was pretty apprehensive. I did not know what was going to happen and the ongoing pandemic made it worse. My main fear was if I will be allowed to step outside in case of an emergency. Pass ke liye rokengey toh nahi (will they stop me if I don’t have a permit), I would ask myself. The doctors had even limited the visits to the hospital, so every day I used to check the baby’s movement myself — in fact I would do it every two hours. By the time the day would end, a new one would start and we would have to go through the routine all over again. My husband had stocked up on medicines so he wouldn’t have to go out frequently, and our doctor had given us a checklist. We were asked to reach out to them only in case something was off. Otherwise, online consultations and medicines continued,” she explained.
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One day after giving birth, Neha was made to walk around with the help of a physiotherapist. Her doctor insisted she walked, so she could be discharged at the earliest. For vaccinations, she has been told that it can be done at home, so the new mother and her baby do not have to risk coming back to the hospital.
“We had planned something elaborate for the baby, for Mother’s Day. But, now we are not even going to get any flowers. But, maybe we will cook something nice at home. Right now I am in pain, but this feeling of having become a mother is inexplicable,” she said.
In Bengaluru, Chethana Jayanth welcomed a baby girl on April 17, at the city’s Aster CMI Hospital. For her, the biggest fear was not knowing if the OPDs are open or not. “I checked with my doctor, and was told to reach out via video consultancy. It was found during my baby’s growth scan that there is a bit of a complication. When my doctor learned of it, she assured me on calls that it will all be okay. My due was May 19, but I delivered in April via C-section,” she said.
“I am over the moon, now that I have become a mother. It is a phenomenal experience. Nothing in my life has given me more joy than holding my baby in my arms. One has to undertake all precautions and necessary measures while delivering during a pandemic. Five days after I delivered, I was made to connect with a pediatrician for my baby, for any kinds of doubts and/or emergencies,” she said, adding: “Mother’s Day holds great significance, because I used to celebrate the day with my mother. Now, I am a mother myself.”
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Chethana advises that mothers-to-be take care of their health and upon the arrival of their baby, wash their hands frequently or use the sanitizer before holding the baby.
For Mohali-based Manisha Sharma, a bank employee, her baby boy arrived just as the world was waking up to the news of the virus, in January. While a lockdown was not really in place, Manisha feared the news of this baby arriving would cause an influx of relatives and friends from near and far. “It was so chaotic and I was scared to go to the hospital. My son came into this world on January 23, and even though there weren’t as many cases in Punjab, we had restricted ourselves from meeting relatives. But it was only when the lockdown became more conclusive, did it become extremely tough. I used to avoid going to the hospital with my baby; I would call my doctor up instead,” she said.
Manisha said it was the vaccination visits that troubled her. “My son had a vaccination due on April 11. I called up the doctor and they said if I wanted to, I could bring him to the hospital for the dose — I thought of it as extremely risky. That’s when my branch manager — who was also due in April — suggested I get in touch with Cloudnine Hospital to get the vaccination done at home. This was my very first delivery and I was afraid of touching anything at the hospital, or waiting even. It helped that vaccinations happened at home and I could feed and pacify my baby from the comfort of the house,” she said.
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This year, Manisha had planned many things — starting with a post-maternity photo shoot — all of which stand cancelled owing to the pandemic. This Mother’s Day, she is thankful that she is at least home with her baby and her husband.
With the world stumbling and struggling to come out of this pandemic, these kinds of experiences give us hope — that with new lives being welcomed every day, there can still be more happy beginnings.
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