Having a baby during COVID-19

By Hand On The Hip - 6/23/2020

Hello there!

I have narrated this story to a bazillion people but putting it in a blog post is harder than I thought. From the title, you might have already guessed what I am going to talk about - well, we had a baby eight weeks ago, just a month or so after COVID-19 paved its way into Australia and life hasn't been the same ever since! The country-wide lockdown and closing of the border meant that my parents couldn't fly in to help us as planned. I had to put on a brave face but deep down my heart was completely crushed.

My husband and I were total noobs when it comes to handling a baby. But there was no time to waste as we had to get on with our purchases, up our research game and talk to our employers about long parental leaves. As we mentally prepared ourselves to take on the challenge of looking after a newborn, our little one decided to arrive early! :) After twenty hours of induced labour, some much needed epidural, several anxious phone calls from our families overseas and an emergency C section, our boy was in my arms!

The last couple of months has been a great learning experience not only in terms of raising a child, but also how to get things moving and cope with the situation we are in. I definitely would like to share some gyaan for parents that are in the same boat as us.

  • First of all, there is no need to panic. Although it's just you and your partner, you're not alone. We need to remember that there are loads of other couples all over the world who are going through the same and some of them may not even have a partner to support them. We will get through this!
  • Picking a good hospital and a doctor can go miles, especially during these unprecedented times. We chose to go with Dr. Ujwala Parashar who looked after us like family and North Shore Private Hospital which has an amazing team of midwives who taught us the ABC of postnatal care, breastfeeding and what not.
  • There is an absolute need for a support person, preferably someone who loves the baby just as much as you do. I am grateful that I have my husband who took care of me during my recovery, managed all the household chores as well as the baby related tasks while I recovered and continues to do so. It's refreshing to see a man perform all those parental duties that stereotypically would be a mum's job. What's getting us through is sharing the workload and working together as a team. 
  • Once you're a parent, the old, the young, men, women, people with no kids - pretty much everyone around you will overwhelm you with unnecessary advice. It gets really tough to dodge unsolicited advice. It's funny how people don't seem to realise that we have spent nearly two months looking after an infant on our own and yet they think we are stupid. I would recommend disengaging from Whatsapp groups or the internet for a while.
  • Since we are new to this whole parenting charade and had nobody at home to guide us, we had to to be on top of our research game. We got a bunch of authentic parenting and breastfeeding websites to refer to from our local healthcare professionals. We are in constant touch with doctors, midwives, recent mums etc. and haven't left a single topic untouched. It's not rocket science! With the right info, we have been able to handle our bub better than we could have imagined.
  • Cooking can be quite a task at times. I would recommend cooking in large portions that can be used for at least three meals or even just cooking and freezing enough dal that can be used little at a time in making sambar, stocking up on ready-to-eat food items and if you have friends around, now is the time for them to prove their friendship! :D (Huge shout-out to our family and friends who sent us meals during our first two weeks!)
  • Machinery and technology are lifesavers! From washing machines to driers to electric instant pots to electric sterilisers to breast pumps, we have invested in them all and they have made our lives a whole lot easier. We have also downloaded a baby tracker app that helps us keep a log of feeds, naps, nappies which has helped us understand our baby's pattern better.
  • Speed is key. Quick showers, quick wash cycles, two minute lunches, spending not more than fifteen minutes cooking etc. should now be a part of your life because you want to spend that time either sleeping or with your bub. 
  • We tend to neglect our health during these frenzy times. As a breastfeeding mother, I personally have experienced dehydration and body pain time and again. I have notice that having water bottles, simple snacks like nuts, protein bars at every nook and corner, eating fruits and drinking milk regularly has made a huge difference.
  • I terribly miss my family in India and it breaks my heart to even think about how they're missing out on my son's infancy. There's absolutely nothing we can do given the circumstances except constant video chats and sharing of videos and photos.
  • Finally, don't lock yourself at home and go, get some fresh air! The three of us don't miss our morning walks and grab every chance we get to go out (with necessary precautions of course!) no matter how exhausted we are. Also, my husband and I take turns to look after bub sometimes so that at least one of us gets some 'me' time. And last but not least, we do keep ourselves updated on the latest movies and series on Netflix! :D It's extremely important to live life like a normal person!

It's a shame how I physically cannot share the most joyous time of my life with my loved ones back home, but it's also an experience that has made us stronger, has brought us closer and what gets us going is our little rabbit's face. Well, this too shall pass, I guess. Until then, stay safe and do expect a lot of baby related blog posts from me! :)

Hand On The Hip

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  1. Congratulation :) Very well written post :) Lots of love to bub :)

  2. Wow! It’s like you’ve written my story! We even birthed at the same hospital :) my bubs 6 weeks