Canada’s expectant mothers say they are juggling a wider range of challenges than ever in their pandemic pregnancies.
“We wanted to have a baby, but at the same time, it’s just like, ‘Do I want to bring it in this crazy world that’s going on right now?’” said Stacey VanTassell of Digby, Nova Scotia.
VanTassell and her partner, Tyler Harris, discovered during a gender reveal party on Sunday that they are having a boy.
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She says her pregnancy has been exciting, but also tough. Along with typical challenges like nausea, she’s felt stress over COVID-19 restrictions. Limits on the number of people at medical appointments have, at times, excluded her partner.
He will be present for the birth of their son, but her mother won’t be. “The hardest thing for me right now to wrap my head around is not being able to have my mother in the room with me,” VanTassell said.
In Vancouver, Fernanda Villalobos is 34 weeks pregnant with her first child.
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“We are both privileged that we have job security and we can both work from home,” Villalobos said. Like VanTassell, she also sees the upside of a pandemic pregnancy.
“I’ve really enjoyed being able to be with my husband, who’s home as well,” she said. “I think him witnessing all the changes, physical and emotional, has made us better partners.”
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Expectant mothers interviewed by Global News say staying in means less pressure to go out and pretend they’re feeling well when they’re not.
But as Nova Scotia mother-to-be Katie Ryerson is discovering, relaxing is a luxury.
“It’s the unknown about the rest of the pregnancy and what delivery’s going to look like,” Ryerson said. “And then the scary thing about, you know, what if I did get COVID? How’s that going to affect me and my baby?”
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.
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