To be perfectly honest, it took a few months before really acknowledging and believing that I was growing a little human in me. All of this couldn’t have happened at a better and worse time while the world was falling apart thanks to a global pandemic. There was widespread panic in the early days when we were ordered to work from home, which was then followed closely by lockdown restrictions.
While healthcare embraced and transitioned to telehealth, my antenatal appointments became a lonely journey as my husband wasn’t allowed to attend any clinics or scans with me. My nearest and dearest missed out on seeing the growing watermelon I was smuggling around in person. And zoom meetings made it a little too easy to hide the pregnancy from the world, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Initially, I had planned on sharing the news once we hit the 12 week mark. Then a friend shared that they had miscarried, among other stories of friends struggling to fall pregnant. I felt guilty. Suddenly it didn’t feel right to share my news. It also always felt like I was holding my breath until we hit the next milestone before I told myself that I would feel comfortable sharing the news. So we never quite got there until the very end.
I thought this conflict was interesting because I had always wanted to share my journey of managing diabetes during pregnancy in real time. Both as a way to keep track of what was happening and reflect in the moment and to be as honest as possible through the good times and the challenging ones. My motto has been that we will deal with whatever happens but I wanted somewhere to write them all down. However, with the chaos around work and the pandemic, I think the larger part of me enjoyed the unique quietness around pregnancy I might never experience again.
It was almost blissful to roll through the pregnancy away from any spotlight and unsolicited advice/belly touching from strangers. Although the occasional stupid comment about having an “iso-baby” surfaced from time to time. Traffic and parking were rarely an issue when it came to hospital appointments. Working from home meant more flexibility for rest and saving money from having to buy a brand new maternity wardrobe for work (not that it really stopped the online shopping!).
The thing I struggled most with was the lack of face to face childbirth education classes, which had all been cancelled and replaced by online videos due to COVID. After spending the majority of my working day in zoom meetings, the last thing I wanted to do was watch educational videos online for myself. When I had finally scored a midwife appointment, I was bitterly disappointed to then be referred back to online resources again without any attempt to do face to face education during our consultation.
One thing for sure though was the fact that I would not have survived through this journey without my support network. Their advice, encouragement and excitement for bubs kept me going and I knew that no question was too silly with them (partly because they’ve been exposed to a million other silly things I’ve done in the past!). Goes to show that peer support is important no matter what area of healthcare you’re in.