Cynthia and Sundus live 12,472.47 km (7,750.03 miles) apart and yet they have faced the same challenge: giving birth during a pandemic. Cynthias’ son Jonah was born on June, 11th in Torrance California, while Sundus’ daughter Zainab was born on March, 31st in Karachi, Pakistan. Months and kilometers apart, but still victims of the new Covid-19 world.
When Coronavirus hit the world, the first thing to change for pregnant women was the screenings. Cynthia had to go alone to the checkups, feeling both lonely and upset because her partner couldn’t be present every step of their first pregnancy. Sundus had her appointments cancelled and never rescheduled. However, the virus and the cancelled screening weren’t her only worry. Three days before the pandemic, Sundus fell from the stairs and broke her ankle.
“I was bed ridden and I lost the babysitter for my other two kids,” Sundus said, “And I was 8 months pregnant and didn’t know who to leave my kids with.”
At the end, she was forced to leave her two other children with their old grandmother. While in Pakistan, one grandmother dubbed as a babysitter, in California, one grandmother had to stay home. Much to Cynthia’s disappointment.
“My biggest concern was not being able to have family, especially my mom at the hospital supporting me during my first labor,” said Cynthia, “I didn’t know what to expect.”
Her husband was in the labor room with her, when she had to wear a mask, while pushing. Odd, since the hospital staff seemed to be lenient about mask requirements before delivery. While Cynthia delivered Jonah with a mask on, Sundus didn’t have to wear one. In both countries, no visitors were allowed to see the newborns. In 48 hours, Sundus was discharged, having no time to rest in the hospital and to be alone with her toddler.
Once home, the situations for the two mothers differed. Cynthia had been in lockdown since March, although being cooped up in the house four four months has not been easy for her. Only immediate family could visit Jonah, but they always had to wear masks and sanitize before entering the house.
“It also doesn’t help that we have to be super careful even when going to the grocery store for essentials, there’s always that sense of panic,” said Cythia.
In Pakistan, Sundus had a harder time once home. It wasn’t just the isolation and the challenge of a newborn: she had still had a plaster. And she had to cut in at her house, her and her husband without the help of any medical staff. She couldn’t go to physiotherapy because there was no one she could leave Zainab with. Plus two more toddlers who were stuck inside, to Sundus the pandemic caused stressful times. At least, she got to spend some time alone with her family, with no distractions.
Cynthia too found a silver lining.
“I couldn’t ask for anything else during this global pandemic, we are all healthy in our home and that is way more than I could ask for,” she said, “For now we will continue to self quarantine with our little bundle of joy.”
Content by Gaia Zol