During a pandemic, it is of course a privilege to be worrying about the circumstances surrounding a new life rather than mourning the death of a loved one.
Over the past week, I’ve adjusted to life in isolation with my husband. I canceled the baby shower, signed up to live prenatal classes online. And I’ve embraced the new steps taken by the French government to erode personal freedoms.
To justify venturing outside my Parisian apartment — for groceries or medicine from the pharmacy — I handwrite a government-mandated permission slip and I walk within a kilometer radius of where I live, if I stray any further I risk getting fined.
But as my maternity leggings grow tighter so too does the bubble I live in as restrictions make it ever smaller.
I knew my parents wouldn’t be allowed to meet the baby, but I didn’t anticipate that my husband would be banned from the hospital, including the delivery room.
Hospital internet forums across the country are now full of anxious expectant mothers asking the same question: “can my partner be by my side when I give birth?” Some are looking into the possibility of home births in an effort to avoid turning up on the day and being told their partners can’t come in.
I seek out answers for a living but, in these unprecedented and uncertain times of rapid change, what’s permitted today could be forbidden tomorrow. No one knows what lies ahead.
The midwife caught my look of distress and tried to comfort me.
“You can always FaceTime your husband from the delivery room,” she said, smiling.
Having a healthy baby is my priority, and perhaps it’s fitting that the first pair of hands my newborn will feel will be those belonging to the medical personnel.
Millions have placed their lives in those hands looking to be healed.