#Personal Stories

Terrific Twinning Tales: Embracing Motherhood In A Pandemic, With COVID Infected Newborns

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Pandemic Babies : As the world is coping up with the COVID situation, there is one profession that has the best and the hardest time all at once. These were the moms out there. Some planned their pregnancy in the pandemic while some got unexpected surprises in the form of twins.

We interviewed a professional architect from Mumbai who worked till she couldn’t see beneath her pregnant belly and was finally blessed with twins at the peak of the pandemic. Apurva Deshpande-Dhuri not only battled through her infants being infected with COVID-19 but also her postpartum journey through self-love.

1. How did the pandemic change your experience of pregnancy?

I read somewhere once, “A newborn baby is the beginning of all things – wonder, hope, dreams, and possibilities. The words ‘Lockdown’ and ‘Pandemic’ were nowhere near our happy life. So when the country went into complete lockdown, we had to change everything planned and take some difficult decisions. The hospital ordered new rules and only my husband, Mandar was allowed to be in the hospital with me. My twin boys, Rishi and Om, were born on the morning of 3rd April 2020, the happiest day of our lives.

2. How was it delivering twins?

It was a weird experience. Everyone at the hospital had eyes only for the rising numbers of Covid-19 patients. While the corridors were empty, the OR was full of doctors, nurses for me, and two separate setups for my two babies with their doctors and nurses. There were times when I missed out on nursing my baby in the NICU because the staff was late. We understood the pressures on the hospital staff as well and decided that getting things done was more important than who does them. Hence, talking about supportive partners, I was lucky to have one.

3. How did you hold up?

Having my closest family around me at home was the best part. My parents and sister were home and were completely focused on our care. My husband, the lucky guy, enjoyed a long paternity leave of three months. 

Pandemic Babies: Embracing Motherhood In A Pandemic, With COVID Infected Newborns

4. What was the most difficult part?

Even after taking precautions, our entire family was down with a Covid-19 infection in October 2020, me with one baby in the hospital, my husband in isolation, and our other boy with my parent’s in home quarantine. They were 6 months old at that time and it took them almost two months to completely recover from the infection. It was the most terrifying time of our lives seeing our family separated for almost three weeks. 

right age motherhood, pandemic babies

Is there any such thing as the right age to embrace motherhood?

5. Did you experience postpartum depression?

How do you explain the continuous crying, the negative thoughts, the angry responses, and the hatred you feel towards all those around you? Because the only person you are angry at is yourself, stuck inside a room, covered in warm clothes in summer, the constant hunger, the pain, and the rage. Though it is said that time heals, it is actually your ability to identify the patterns and consciously responding to them that helps.

I found temporary solace in reading, my husband suggested singing and dancing with the babies. Time, patience, communication, and self-motivation facilitate my betterment.

6. What is your opinion on the stigma of gaining weight post-pregnancy?

During my pregnancy, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which put me on a strict diet. While I enjoyed the cravings and gained ample weight, I know I shall strive to lose it when the time is right. What matters is being healthy, both physically and mentally. Slowly, I have started making some ‘me’ time when the boys sleep. I use this time to read or draw or take a walk in the locality on some days. Self-motivation was hard for me in the early days, but self realisation helped me rise from my dark place. 

7. What’s your message to the women battling depression?

I started sharing the journey with my closest friends, who also were pregnant or had delivered recently. We shared our feelings, fears, pain, happy and sad moments with each other without worrying about being judged. My message to all the fellow moms out there is, communicate and vent out your thoughts, maybe write them down. 

You don’t need to have it together all the time, everything does not have to be perfect. Don’t set unwanted rules. Our babies won’t remember the messy homes or undone chores; they will remember the moments we made them laugh, held their hands, cuddled them in our arms, and endlessly babbled with them.

On days of anxiety and uncertainty, please remember to show yourself compassion, love, and faith. You are the best mother your baby can have. So love yourself, pamper yourself with what you like and how you like it to feel happy and grateful. And then pour that happiness into your life. For you are first and foremost, your own valentine.

So ladies, embrace motherhood in its true sense by being happy more and worried less.