Coronavirus Diaries: ‘With this pregnancy I swore I’d be ready for all eventualities. All except a global pandemic.’

When Sasha Hamrogue found out she was pregnant last year, she swore she would be fully prepared. But what happens when you’re 32-weeks pregnant and caught up in a global pandemic?


I’ve always needed to know what comes next. One of my most annoying, and most secret, habits is to read the last few pages of a book before I’ve even started it. And you know the part three quarters of the way through a movie where everything starts to go wrong? It takes everything in me not to turn it off there and then as I can’t bear the doubt of the outcome.

I wrestle with the multiple probable fates of any given situation and only feel comfortable once every possible, likely base is covered.

Unfortunately, I learned with my first-born that these coping mechanisms simply dissolve when it comes to parenting. Despite my bravado and future-proof worrying, my daughter’s birth went entirely off script and she was born by emergency c-section under general anaesthetic.

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Questions and anxieties

My very first crash course in Mommy-hood? Always expect the unexpected. And when I found out I was pregnant with my second child in 2019, did I apply this knowledge? Nope. I swore this time would be different. I’d plan better. I’d be prepared. I’d be ready for all eventualities. All except one, I suppose. I wasn’t ready for a global pandemic.

Suddenly the most natural thing in the world feels complex and more changeable than ever at a time when women are vulnerable.

As the worldwide community faces complete uncertainty women across the earth are facing a whole new experience of childbirth and the months leading up to it have been filled with questions and anxieties.

Do I still attend my GP appointments? Is it safe to visit the hospital for routine checkups? Will I be able to have a birthing partner present or will I be going this alone? And of course the scariest…what if I contract the virus while pregnant?

Many of the answers vary from country to country, doctor to doctor and hospital to hospital leaving room for fears despite reassurances. Suddenly the most natural thing in the world feels complex and more changeable than ever at a time when women are vulnerable. I’m strong person, always have been, but I’m also really scared. What will the state of play be when it’s time for my child to arrive?

Swell of gratitude

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A baby shower in a box arrives, complete with balloons and banners, sent in the post with love from New York.

So, where have we found comfort? In each other. We’re showing such incredible togetherness and resilience as a collective. Women everywhere are coming together on WhatsApp groups and Facebook groups sharing information, sharing supplies and sharing advice and words of encouragement.

Waking up to DMs about healthy babies being born the night before and their heroic mothers coming through the other side. Grandparents meeting their newest grandchildren from outside sitting room windows but with a swell of gratitude spread wide across their smiles.

Friends stepping up and stepping in. Like mine who knew I had only bought a grand total of four baby outfits for our boy on the way but now I have drawers full of fresh washed babygrows delivered from six feet apart. A baby shower in a box arrives, complete with balloons and banners, sent in the post with love from New York. A brand new Moses basket ordered by a much missed best friend. Plastic gloves from a fellow mom and neighbour to the doorstep.

 

Sasha Hamrogue and family Sasha Hamrogue with her husband Niall and daughter Winona, photographed together in New York last June 
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It’s been the reassurance I’ve needed. We might be soaking in the unknown but we’re learning so much – about ourselves and about each other.

As our son kicks and stretches his limbs in my belly, I am reminded that life will go on. It’s very hard to know what the world will be like when he gets here and more than ever I won’t have all the answers.

But someday I’ll be able to tell him about all the friends who helped us and the brave women who walked into the unknown for the love of our children.

Sasha Hamrogue is co-founder and co-presenter along with Venetia Quick of the Grief Encounters podcast. She is also a contributor to The Guardian, Rolling Stone and MTV.


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