As we mark one year of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s safe to say the past year has been a trying time for many — filled with uncertainty, challenges, and stress. There was no textbook on how to live through it.
That’s a sentiment that particularly holds true for people like Winnipeg’s Pramini Warnock. The pandemic hit just as she was about to enter her first year of motherhood.
“It was a little bit scary just because there was so much uncertainty and I didn’t know if I would be able to have a hospital birth even, if they would have space for me,” Warnock said.
“So that was a little worrisome, if I might have to make some last-minute decisions I never anticipated.”
While Warnock was able to have a hospital birth, she couldn’t have her family by her side for support. Only her husband was allowed in the room when they welcomed their daughter Minka into the world.
“When she was born it was the height of the pandemic, so the end of March, so there was still so much unknown,” she said.
Mothers taking on ‘shocking’ number of hours caring for children during pandemic
“We weren’t even allowed to see anybody. Not even our parents, because they were just so close to the age of people who are susceptible and vulnerable [to COVID-19].”
Like many others, Warnock and her husband relied on and embraced technology to stay connected to loved ones and help Minka meet her family.
“I think the most challenging thing is not being able to socialize other babies for her,” she added.
But Warnock says there was perhaps a silver lining to going through a first year of motherhood while mostly in lockdown: Plenty of mother-daughter time.
“It was a little bit disappointing not to have family there, but it was also nice because I was able to spend so much time with her,” Warnock said.
“(Minka gives us) just the joy of difference and making mundane things so magical. Yeah, (we’re) just so happy.”
Research shows (PDF) pregnant women are at higher risk of damaging outcomes if they get COVID-19. Further, the vaccine’s effect on pregnant and breastfeeding women is unclear.
Those anticipating a pandemic baby boom, from couples spending more time at home, might be in for a surprise.
Evidence from the Brookings Institute in the United States suggests there could be a COVID baby bust — that job losses in devastated economies will lead to fewer births.
Those who didn’t shy away hope they will have profound memories during a difficult time.
-With files from Ross Lord
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