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Giving Birth And Raising Newborn Twin Babies In Times Of COVID-19

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While COVID-19 has brought with it its fair share of difficulties, economic disruptions, share market lows and everyday challenges for destitute and people belonging to the poorer sections of the society, it has hit women of all classes, in varied ways. Among women, those who got pregnant during coronavirus, are dealing with pregnancy or went into labour during this time are affected by a new-found enhanced version of paranoia and discomfort.

For my sister, who went into labour a day before the Janata Curfew, she gave birth to twin girls, her entire experience of being a first-time mother has been seriously impacted by this virus phobia. It started with the doctors not allowing her family, besides her husband, in the hospital because they didn’t want to over-populate the campus with too many people. “They were so strict about this protocol that some staffer or the other would constantly come to our room to keep a check on whether there was any other person in the room or not,” she says.

Also read: #CoronaHack: How To Stay At Peace With Your Patriarchal Family

For my sister, who went into labour just a day before the Janata Curfew, she gave birth to twin girls, her entire experience of being a first-time mother has been seriously impacted by this virus phobia.

Going to-and-fro between the hospital and house also became a huge inconvenience thanks to the coronavirus as she doesn’t own a personal vehicle. The hospital ambulance charged them a hefty sum of half-a-grand for a distance of 2.5 km that would otherwise be covered in under Rs 100. This happened until they complained to the hospital authorities and found out that the ambulance driver was duping them. Because of the lack of cab aggregator services, going to the hospital has become a serious challenge and they are finding it difficult to deal with.

Among Hindus, much like any other religion, childbirth comes with rituals with a lot of pomp and show. However, the pandemic has also completely ruined my sister’s plans for any celebration now because of the lockdown and general social-distancing protocol as the infants are very sensitive and prone to any virus and flu. “In my building itself, I recently met with a friend after months of being confined at home because of the pregnancy. Now that I felt physically fit to meet her, and have a chat just to freshen up, we just exchanged a few words from afar and I cannot even invite her or anyone home to show them the babies because anyone or everyone is a potential threat. So it’s been close to six months of quarantine for me, give or take. I desperately need some human interaction beyond my family,” she rants.

Fortunately, they had stocked up all the essentials the babies would require way before the lockdown so they didn’t suffer as much as the other newly-minted mothers who might be struggling with essentials, but they still cannot do without regular pharmacy visits and doctor visits. She adds, “I can’t imagine how it would be for others who are dealing with family disputes or do not have family close to them during this time. My in-laws have been my true support system in such a chaotic time. They covered all our necessities and brought them over in bulk so we don’t have to worry.”

Also read: A COVID-19 Positive Mother Gives Birth To A Healthy Baby

“So it’s been close to six months of quarantining for me, give or take. I desperately need some human interaction beyond my family.”

However, there is a silver lining as she feels blessed to have her husband with her all the time. She believes it’s giving him more time to connect with the infants as opposed to how it would have been under normal circumstances. “He exhausted is one week of paternity leave way before I went into labour because of a surgery I had for which he had to stay in the hospital with me. So this work from the home scenario where he keeps coming back to the babies in between work is a real blessing in disguise. I feel that this should become a norm for new fathers, even in normal circumstances. The way he has been able to live every moment himself rather than hear about it from me at the end of a workday when he comes back home from work tired is very gladdening.”

Coronavirus may have changed the experience of pregnancy and childbirth for millions of women out there, but it has also brought with it loads of family time for the new parents. A kind of stillness one would wish for and now that we have, why not take our lives a little slowly and steadily?

The views expressed are the author’s own.