My husband can go for a pint but can’t support me giving birth?

Restrictions could impose irreparable emotional damage on pregnant women

As my pregnancy progresses, we are now considering the ‘what ifs’ which may arise in November. File photograph: iStock

As my pregnancy progresses, we are now considering the ‘what ifs’ which may arise in November. File photograph: iStock

 

I sit writing this at the end of a long working day as an in-house lawyer for one of the biggest banks in the country but instead of looking out the window of a busy city centre office, I am looking out at my back garden, smiling at the antics of my neighbours’ children.

We have all had to adhere to restrictions and make allowances to better protect the most vulnerable in our society. These little ones have also done their bit in terms of continuing to study at home while schools were closed and learning to adjust to the new normal.

For much of my pregnancy, my husband and I have been in such a state of general excitement at the thoughts of being parents that we have managed to try not to dwell on the 'if onlys' or the 'imagines'

I have read and assimilated the Living with Covid-19 Resilience and Recovery Plan as published this week by our Government. We have been provided with a myriad of information related to various important areas and issues, such as how the plan and its restrictions will apply to organised outdoor gatherings, religious services, bars, cafes and restaurants, etc.

The concept of “wet pubs” appear to have been afforded a category entirely to itself, such is the significance attributed to their continued commercial existence or otherwise by our Government.

Coming back to the subject of little ones, and the reason for my writing, I am also a first time expectant mother of a baby girl, due to be brought into this world in November.

For much of my pregnancy, my husband and I have been in such a state of general excitement at the thoughts of being parents that we have managed to try not to dwell on the “if onlys” or the “imagines”.

The “if only” he could have been there to see her move on the sonographer’s screen for the first time. The “imagine if” we could have experienced the pure joy of hearing her little heart beating in that quiet room together. The “if only” he did not have to wait in our car during the anomaly scan and go through the worry and concern that every first time parent feels by himself until I could text and let him know that all was well.

As my pregnancy progresses, we are now considering the “what ifs” which may arise in November. “What if” I break down walking into the hospital by myself. “What if” I can’t do it without my person there to support me until it is too late. “What if” something goes wrong.

What I cannot understand is how I may once again find myself walking into my maternity hospital in November, carrying my hospital bag, my labour bag and this little girl, on my own while my husband is forced to stay in our car

The Resilience and Recovery Plan states its intent quite early on is to repair the damage that coronavirus has inflicted on society. I cannot conceive of the irreparable emotional damage that the continued restrictions might impose on myself and on the hundreds of pregnant women in Ireland at the moment contemplating the same “what ifs” that I am contemplating and for some unfortunate couples, the reality of these every day, in our country’s maternity hospitals.

Our Taoiseach has this week noted the concerns of pregnant women and their partners, having had these brought to his attention by a number of TDs and has promised to do what he can to lift these restrictions if possible.

I just want to say I understand why restrictions are in place. I understand why the entire country needs to pull together and adhere to them. I understand why plans such as these cannot cater for every eventuality.

What I cannot understand is how I may once again find myself walking into my maternity hospital in November, carrying my hospital bag, my labour bag and this little girl, on my own while my husband again goes to find parking and is forced to stay in our car; unable to even help carry my bags or share those frankly terrifying moments with me until I am in active labour, while less than five minutes down the road, a group of relative strangers might walk into a pub together, sit together at a table and share some pints.

I saw a headline during the week proclaiming this was no country for pregnant women. It seems that given the importance afforded to the latter scenario as opposed to the former by our Government to date, this may sadly prove to be the case.

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