I thought a lot about the content of this post, and initially really wanted to write the whole thing about how being pregnant in the current situation is great, and something to be celebrated because I am getting really fed up of seeing article after article circulating about how awful it is being pregnant or having a new baby in the pandemic. But, it then occurred to me that trying to preach the message that being pregnant at the moment is exclusively positive would be just as biased and one-sided as the articles which I’m trying to counteract. Plus, it really felt like it would be disloyal to the mothers who had their babies in early lockdown – you guys are such troopers. Going to scans alone, missing out on all the mum and baby classes, spending maternity leave in the house and even giving birth without a partner in some cases are all horrible things which I’m beyond thankful that I am largely unlikely to experience. However, in amongst all that doom and gloom, I really feel it’s important to say that there are some positives to being pregnant within the current situation, and they don’t seem to be getting mentioned anywhere. So, without further ado and in an attempt to counterbalance some of the doom and gloom articles, I’ve compiled a list of the things I’m really loving about being pregnant in these strange times.
No creepy tummy-touchers.
All of the articles and magazines I’m reading say that around this point in my pregnancy (bump just starting to become clearly ‘baby’ and not ‘carb-heavy lunch’), people will start doing the unwelcome tummy grabs. I don’t like being touched at the best of times; even before social distancing existed I was the furthest thing from the office ‘hugger’, so the non-consensual tummy grabs were something I was really dreading. But, nobody is able to come close enough to do it – crisis averted!
Less pressure to tell people
I’ve written previously about how there really shouldn’t be a ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ time to announce your pregnancy; when you and your partner feel like it is the best time in my eyes. But, for those who perhaps do want to wait until a certain point for whatever reason, that must be a total minefield within normal life. I had a spa day booked for very early into my first trimester and did wonder how I was going to get around not having the bubbly, a massage or the hot tub – i.e. the only reasons for one going to a spa in the first place; but the second lockdown hit just before then so it was cancelled anyway! Having to pretend my lemonade had gin in it at social functions or trying to conceal the fact I was sweating constantly and didn’t want to eat any particularly strong-flavoured foods would have been really hard to navigate under ‘normal’ circumstances.
More time to relax at home
I’m in the extremely fortunate position of being able to work from home, which I know it not everyone’s situation and to those pregnant women still working on the front lines – you’re seriously all effing heroes. But, it’s no secret that generally, regardless of our personal circumstances, we’re all having more time at home. Trips out on our days off are a no-no, so we have no choice but to rest at home which, as any person who has experienced pregnancy will know, sometimes that’s the dream. Of course like everyone I have days where I want to be out for lunch with friends, at the cinema or whatever else I might fancy doing, but on the days when my hips are killing, my sciatica is playing up and I feel really tired, being able to laze at home and nap in the middle of the day if I need to is just the best; and we get to do that without feeling guilty about letting people down or not being productive.
Less unsolicited advice
None of us are immune to this, but with this being the first baby for both myself and my husband, I really was gearing up for more of the ‘you must buy this’ or ‘I hope you aren’t doing x, y and z’ and ‘why are you going to the gym? You should be sitting on a cushion and wrapped in bubble wrap for nine months’. Of course I’ve had some of that, no matter how well meaning your family and friends may be, unsolicited advice is an inevitability of pregnancy. However, it’s quite difficult to randomly text or message someone a piece of advice – almost as if it’s generally a rude thing to do (has the pandemic made these people self aware of their own rudeness? Praise be!), so the lack of face to face chit-chat over a coffee with friends or in the office at lunchtime has definitely filtered most of this out. And, the beauty of texts/messages are that you can just ignore them!
Obviously, the risk of infection of one particular illness is very much on everyone’s mind; especially pregnant women and new mums who are conscious of the weakened immune systems of themselves and their new babies, but there are countless articles coming out on how the transmission rates of cold and flu have dropped massively over the last year. I personally get a cold if someone sneezes within a three mile radius, so having pregnancy weaken my immune system even further definitely worried me. The idea of battling colds and flu when I can’t take anything much stronger than a Berocca was quite frightening. But, in a lot of ways, I weirdly feel safer now – most people are in masks and everything is massively clean and sterile which is paradoxically quite reassuring if you just ignore the big horrible scary reason why we’ve all suddenly upped our hand washing and anti-bacterial-ing of things.
I’m writing this in the immediate aftermath of Boris’ announcement to the U.K. about our roadmap out of lockdown. I’m not going to comment on my personal views around the logistics of this plan, because I want my blog to be a happy place and at the moment, politics really has no legitimate place within that, but I must confess that I felt a slight disappointment to learnt that restrictions are (theoretically) going to be fully lifted right around my estimated due date. Does that make me a horrible person? I am planning on taking the golden advice of ‘a week in bed and a week on the sofa’ once baby comes so I can speed up recovery and really make the most of my husband’s short paternity leave so we can bond as a family of three, and covid restrictions really would have played nicely into that. Of course I do want my baby to get to know my family and friends, but for those initial weeks where I really just want to be a bit selfish and have privacy for us to recover and find our feet as a new family, I was so looking forward to not having to have the ‘no visitors, please’ conversation with everyone. Still, we complain when we’re in lockdown and we complain when we’re out of it – I suppose I could always get away with blaming hormones if people think I’m being an antisocial bitch when baby comes and I refuse to answer the door?