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  • Writer's pictureShilpa Mago

6 months pregnant, amidst a pandemic

I’m a content writer and co-founder of my baby Digital Batter. And, I’m currently 6 months pregnant amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Relatable to some of you already? I’m glad!

2020 has proved that expecting mothers don’t necessarily incessantly speak about their baby, their pregnancy and this life-altering experience they’ve embarked upon. Coronavirus offered plenty to conversations. Pretty much every piece of WhatsApp news, to Cardi B’s significant rant, made dinner table conversation for a while.

From being a child in a close-knit joint family, I moved into a home and marriage where my husband’s responsibilities made a lot of the things I previously prioritized seem trivial. A reality-check of sorts. Once the coast was rather clear, and we were done with our fair share of globe trotting as well, we decided to grow this little family. Little did we know!

How does one create an image in mind? Surely, it’s a collection of what we see around us, and what we pick from it. I created one too! It had a lot to do with the pregnancies I’ve witnessed in the last 4 odd years. A healthy pregnancy was always priority number one, quickly followed by everything else I had pictured. This pandemic took a couple of months to grow, to hit our cities, yet it feels as though plans were cancelled overnight.

The mental picture of this period involved spending a substantial amount of time with my parents, family and cousins. It involved an active lifestyle, being at work everyday, weekends with friends, a fun maternity wardrobe, a mandatory Lonavala trip, movies and dinners with my husband, conversations and tips on pregnancy and parenting from every relative possible, and most certainly a baby shower and an intimate and warm godh bharai at home.

As soon as you snap out of it, you realize how fortunate you are to be safe at home, with your partner and/or family. Priorities shifted. It isn’t about all the cute, fun and sometimes unnecessary things you can buy now, it’s about sourcing essentials for that hospital bag, and the baby that’s making its way into this world right now. But, would I be human if I didn’t ponder over what could have been?

This pandemic has left nations gripped in chaos, and battling the uncertainty it brings with it, isn’t exactly easy while preparing to bring another life into this world. Being immunocompromised while the world scuffles such a situation, comes with its own challenges. I connected with my OBGYN, Dr. Gayatri Rao of Womens Hospital, Khar West.

Most of the information online is around safety measures and medical advice. I spoke to her about positivity, panic, anxiety and other emotions for a pregnant woman during this time. “Well, at this stage everyone is panicking... pregnant or not!! Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases in a woman’s life. There are already so many things to worry about when you are pregnant and during this pandemic, the anxiety levels are off the charts! Though worrying about Covid 19 is very natural and understandable, but you need to try and accentuate the positive. You are going to have a baby! Think about the lovely time you are going to spend with your little angle. That little soul is going to depend on you for everything, so you need to take care of yourself to ensure that you are geared for your baby with all the positive energy possible, so they know they have come to a beautiful world!! All they need is your love and hugs to feel safe. And don’t worry, your stress does not harm the baby... though it helps to keep them happy when you are happy!” – Dr. Gayatri Rao.

I spoke to a few other expecting mothers, whilst writing this piece. Urvashi Damani was 39 weeks pregnant when we connected, and just delivered a beautiful and healthy baby 2 days after our conversation. Urvashi strongly believes that a reliable and reassuring doctor during such unprecedented times, is everything! She looked at this lockdown as an opportunity for working mothers to spend time with their husbands and families, bond with their babies and felt grateful for being in a city like Mumbai where stores like Green Bell and Design Touch are delivering essentials for newborns.

Kavya Agarwal, 26 weeks into her first pregnancy, is making the most of her time home with family. An empathetic thought - she worries that if she purchases essentials for her baby too early, she might cause a lack of products for someone who needs them right away. “I think we need to be positive, largely because I believe that your thoughts affect the baby. There are more than enough things we can do at home to stay happy and healthy!”, I quote Kavya.

Vijeyta Khanolkar represents the Provincial Government of Canada and assists in trade and investment services. She and her husband had planned to travel through Italy, but soon enough strolling by canals, through quaint cafes, seemed a far-fetched dream. Vijeyta had registered with a hospital owing to their NICU facilities, but has now shifted her preference to a maternity hospital to avoid coming in contact with a Covid ward. She’s kept herself considerably busy during the lockdown, relearning old skills and trying her hand at Photoshop and video editing softwares. I speak for all expecting moms that are procrastinating to some extent, it’s amazing that you get yourself to do all the things you do, Vijeyta!

Between this global crisis, and the pressure to stay happy and positive for the health of the baby, to read good books, listen to light music, I realize the importance of mental health more than ever. It’s so easy to start spiraling and lose hope, and that’s when I intentionally practice gratitude. I may not have additional help post delivery, but I see an extremely supportive partner and family to turn to. I may feel immunocompromised, but that’s when I sense a little kick inside the belly, reminding me that we’re stronger together!

03 May 2020

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