Having a new baby is a memorable experience for any mother, whether its your first or your seventh child, that mixture of excitement, worry and warmth will never change.
However, for some mothers, those feelings are met with nervousness and fear as they learn that they will have to give birth during a global pandemic.
In recent times, the joy of motherhood for expectant mothers is being clouded with fear, uncertainty and anxiety.
Mary O’Donovan said this is her first pregnancy.
“Being in lockdown and having to deal with a virus that has no cure is mentally draining,” she said.
“I was eight months pregnant when the pandemic initially struck. The fear and uncertainty of not being able to go to the hospitals at will was a nightmare for my family”
“I considered having a home birth rather than going to the hospital for fear of being exposed to COVID.”
Geraldine McGivern had a tough time coming to terms with bringing a child into the world during a pandemic.
“I am already a very anxious and nervous person that being pregnant and having a newborn during a pandemic has made it a whole lot worse,” she said.
“All the excitement I was feeling for my baby turned into this worry of how I could protect her from the virus.”
The trip to the hospital for most expectant mothers is something to count down to, however, for mothers during this pandemic, it was when fears began to sink in.
Danielle Byrne said “I didn’t want to go to the hospital because I knew when I got there [my husband] couldn’t come.”
“It was tough..” she continued, “I was basically just on my own.”
Mrs. McGivern remembered a moment in the hospital when she was reminded of the reality outside of her little bubble of happiness.
“We were stopped to put on a mask while I was still on the gurney,” she explained.
“It was a funny moment to look back on as I was lost in the feeling of my new world with the arrival of my little girl, but I was brought straight back to the reality and fear that I was actually living in this pandemic.”
Some mothers, such as Brittany Mccabe preferred the isolation in the hospital ward.
“It was nice to rest, just me and baby, without the hustle and bustle of visitors,” she said.
“It was nice to bond with my baby before we took her home”.
With the unfortunate removal of their partners from the ward, expectant mothers were overwhelmed by the support given by their medical staff.
“The staff are superheroes,” gushed Mrs. Byrne.
“You trust them so much that you’re completely happy just to put your faith in them.”
“They know you can’t have your partners and that’s not their fault,” she continued, “they do everything that they can”.
However, not being there for majority of the stay in the hospital can be very saddening for a father-to-be.
Mrs. McGivern explained that her husband felt disconnected to this birth as opposed to his other children.
“I can remember [my husband] responding to the pictures saying she is gorgeous, but she doesn’t feel like mine.”
“He didn’t get to bond with her like he did with his other two daughters.”
Similarly, Mrs. Byrne said that it was the unpredictability and quick nature of the situation that left her husband unsure of how to respond with the birth of his first child.
“My husband didn’t know whether to go home or sleep in the car or what to do,” she said ‘he didn’t want to miss it.’
For expectant mothers and fathers alike, although this was a birth was out of the ordinary, it gave them a happy, healthy child to be thankful for during all of this uncertainty.