There is much praise at the moment on social media and beyond for home-schooling parents, which – of course – I too applaud. But, during my usual evening flick through TV channels (aka assessing which crap reality TV I’m going to junk up my brain with), I stumbled across TV Star Emma Willis’ new series: Delivering Babies. This season, obviously, has a slight twist. With all filming taking place mid-pandemic, we got our first real on-camera insight into what it’s like being pregnant and giving birth during COVID. It’s left me with a new-found respect for parents, not just the home-schooling ones, but the soon-to-be ones.
Of course, social media mumfluencers have given us a bit of an insight, and some of us lucky few have friends or family members that have been or are still pregnant during these testing times. Well, I have to say, Instagram doesn’t even scratch the surface on this topic and certainly does not give enough credit where it’s due to all prospective parents… especially pregnant women. So, in some attempt to educate myself, I conducted some complex research into the matter. Okay, you got me, I sat on the sofa with a large glass of Pinot Grigio (apologies about that pregnant ladies, you’ll be sipping with me again soon) and watched a hell of a lot of TV. In my defence, I also asked one of my pregnant friends for some specifics (shameless shoutout!). And, if I’m honest, what I learned was horrifying and truthfully shocking. So, I think these mamas should demand more respect than they’re currently getting… and I’m going to tell you why!
Zoom baby showers and newborn meets
We’ve all struggled with the virtual meetings one way or another, whether it be Zoom birthday parties or Teams work meetings… we can all agree on one thing: they suck. Now, imagine a special day that you usually spend with friends and family – like a birthday, but it will probably only happen to you once or twice in your lifetime: your baby shower! Now, imagine it on Zoom. What is supposed to be one of the most precious days (admittedly less important than the actual birth, but definitely more fun) ruined by muted mics and cat filters (I know, I know, I HAD TO). Is it really a surprise that some expecting mothers are just scrapping baby showers altogether? No fun baby bump games played and no presents… apart from those sent in the post that probably arrived broken because it’s just that kinda year, isn’t it? “Not to worry”, they tell themselves, “at least by the time the baby comes we will be out of lockdown… surely COVID can’t last longer than a full-term pregnancy”. Think again! So now, not only do they face virtual baby showers, but they also face virtual baby meets. The lucky few get to walk up beside the window and give the newborn a wave, but the rest of us must simply FaceTime ‘meet’ the baba. Meanwhile, the new parents are literally locked inside with a crying, weeing, vomiting, crapping tiny little human. Oh, the joys of parenthood in 2020/21, eh?
‘The joys of pregnancy’ – what are those?
Now, I definitely watch too much Friends, which is why when I picture my future pregnancy – which is a LONG way off btw (just in case my Dad reads this and goes into cardiac arrest) – I picture Rachel Green’s perfect pregnancy experience. I imagine the moment when her and Ross hear that heartbeat and know instantly that they’re in love with this tiny little foetus. Do you have that image? Good, now destroy it. The reality for COVID mummies is hearing your baby’s heartbeat for the first time whilst being suffocated by a mask, with a midwife whose face you’ve never actually seen thanks to all that PPE, and (in some cases) even without your baby daddy in the room. So that moment that us girls have often dreamed of since we were children ourselves…ruined!
Hormones, hormones and more hormones
I can only speak for the whole of the nation when I say lockdown is testing our relationships. Who knew being with your partner CONSTANTLY could be so annoying! I personally consider it one of my major achievements that I have not (yet) violently murdered my boyfriend. Add pregnancy hormones to that and you’re a serial killer in the making. I’m surprised they’re not all in straitjackets as we speak (a maternity range one, of course). But they’re not, they carry on regardless with under-the-breath sighs and the occasional grumble. Nonetheless, they persist.
Basically, these pregnant women are my heroes. They are dealing with all the rubbish stuff the rest of us are, whilst casually growing a human inside them. And I haven’t even touched on the actual birth. Women have always been amazing; we single-handedly grow a human and then push it out of us… like, wow. But these women are on a completely new level, they’re the ‘God Tier’ of motherhood and womanhood. If they can cope with all of this, do you think a teeny-weeny pandemic is going to beat them? Nah! So, serious respect to all you pregnant ladies out there. You just keep pushing on… literally.
Words by: Laura Cameron
Edited By: Dasha Pitts-Yushchenko