Pregnancy in the new normal
Sometime last February, my mother-in-law brought up the idea of a baby shower. I’m not a big fan of parties or gatherings in general, but a baby on the way is always something to celebrate. Besides, she said, it would be a good way for us to get stuff for our baby registry. It’s practical, financially speaking, considering my husband and I are newly married, and this is our first baby.
Mid-March, news broke out about the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. Not long after, most of the country was placed on enhanced community quarantine (ECQ), meaning, nobody was allowed to go out unless you were a frontline worker or you needed to get essential supplies. Any mass gathering was strictly prohibited. The idea of a baby shower was quickly put off.
Come April, I was in my seventh month of pregnancy. The nesting instinct was slowly creeping in. Nesting during pregnancy is defined as the desire to get the home ready for the baby. The number of positive COVID-19 cases, meanwhile, was still increasing daily. Not surprisingly, our city was still on lockdown, with malls closed to the public. Hence, I had to resort to online shopping, something I’m actually good at. Still, nothing can replace shopping in person and actually examining every baby item with my meticulous eyes. So, hopeful that we would still get the chance to do so, I only ordered items that my baby would immediately need upon arrival—a set of tie tops, bottoms, bonnet, mittens and boots, and a receiving blanket.
My orders arrived on time and in good condition. Truth be told, we are still lucky that we live in this modern age of technology where everything is just one click away.
Fast forward to today. We are on two months and counting of ECQ, with the end of the pandemic still nowhere in sight. I have come to terms with the current situation. I have accumulated most, if not all, of the things on my list. Some, including a co-sleeper and nappy cream, are still on the way. I have my hospital bag packed as well.
Doing “online nesting,” as I’d like to call it, has its downside. For instance, it’s not easy measuring your abdominal girth and hoping that the pricey binder you bought online is true to its size, or trusting the shopping site’s comments section swearing about the quality of this certain sterilizer, or waking up to calls from the delivery man alerting you of his arrival. It’s even more frustrating when you see the perfect maternity robe or breast pump online, only to find out upon checkout that cash-on-delivery or credit card is not accepted. But this is the reality now, and this is just one of the many ways a pregnant woman like me is coping with the new normal.
As the saying goes, always look on the bright side. Looking back, the process has been fun and exciting. Scrolling through one product after another has also helped me pass time and ease my mind of the worries regarding this pandemic. I’m sure everyone has their own concerns. My husband happens to be a doctor directly caring for COVID-19 patients. I, too, am a doctor, but given that I am pregnant, I was allowed to stay clear of the frontlines. For the same reason, I cannot stay with my husband right now. We simply cannot risk it.
I do hope that things get better sooner than later. The world was already chaotic even before this pandemic began. But that doesn’t change my desire to bring my child out to the streets, to let him freely run in the park, not afraid of contracting a virus. I want him to go to school, to have friends to talk to and laugh with carelessly without needing to wear a mask. I want him to be able to give a hand to someone in need without having to sanitize every five minutes. I want him to hug and play with his Papa without standing at least six feet apart. I want him to have a normal childhood, a normal life. I only want what’s best for my baby—don’t we all as parents?
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Denisse R. Fernandez-Vergara, 28, is a second year Dermatology resident at UST Hospital, wife to a fellow doctor, and a mother-to-be.