First-time pregnant mom, Priyanka Patel, 27, shares how she has been coping during the coronavirus pandemic pandemic.
“The house was becoming a prison for me until I re-discovered my love for painting. For the last three months, I have been working from home. Kenya Red Cross Society, the organization where I work as an innovation officer, allocated me satellite duties as part of the Covid-19 precautionary measures around eradicating the disease.
I currently live with my husband and in-laws, as well as my mother who got stuck at our home due to the city lockdown. As I carry the baby for six months now, my family protects me from exposure to the virus. They shop, sanitise themselves and the house, and whenever I step out of the house –which is rare- someone accompanies me to ensure I don’t touch anything.
I count myself lucky as my husband is very supportive and caring. He does his work and home duties while ensuring I’m safe at home. He even assists my mother make delicious dishes at times. I am so lucky to have such a supportive and caring family by my side.
I call my gynecologist in Nairobi and here in Mombasa for updates on my pregnancy and general health, and they guide me. Pre-natal care is mandatory for pregnant women even at this time of coronavirus.
Honestly, I’m scared by the monthly visit I make to the hospital as I’m putting myself and the baby at risk but I also cannot avoid the check-ups. But, the hospital standards are quite re-assuring.
I thought at 27, with my first child on the way, I will enjoy my pregnancy more. From previous observation of pregnant friends and family, I was looking forward to a grand time. I had planned to attend prenatal yoga classes, meet up with other expectant mothers, and those that have recently delivered to hear of their experiences and share mine.
I also planned to go out with my husband for counseling, shop for baby stuff physically at the shops, and get spoilt by friends and family members when visiting or also when I’m out in restaurants. I have always seen pregnant women being congratulated, and glowing with happiness, but in my locked-up state, many are still unaware, at least not until I made the public announcement via my social media platforms. I had every intention of following family traditions and deliver my firstborn at my parents’ home. However, that seems unlikely now.
With the current travel restrictions and risks around traveling, I am not too sure about what’s next, so I have started seeing a gynecologist in Mombasa to be prepared.
I’m worried if the restrictions stay longer, the baby will not be able to interact with the outside world much, and this might limit the baby’s comfort in new places and with new faces. Working from home, and staying indoors all day also limits my physical movement, which is not the best thing during pregnancy, as my body needs some physical exercise.
Just when I was feeling overwhelmed, overprotected, and going out of my mind. I stumbled upon an App, a Baby Center App, which shows the size of a baby weekly as it grows in shapes of fruits and vegetables. I always end up looking at that vegetable/ fruit of the week, and say to it ‘you are the same size as my baby inside me’.
I was so taken by the fruits, I wanted to collect the fruits as they marched to the size of my unborn child’s development. That’s when the desire to paint the fruits resurfaced. I have enjoyed painting since I was a teenager, and it brings me lots of joy seeing colours blend and a beautiful piece pulled together towards the end.
So I started painting the fruits. I started painting at 14 weeks and have so far finished 11 paintings, which I then edit on a baby app with some stickers to form an album. I want to make an album of bump fruits/vegetables that I will someday show my child with a lot of excitement and also re-live the moment as a memory. The interesting part is, the baby has given me several kicks during my painting sessions, meaning he/she enjoys it too!
This is my first child, and we are very excited about its arrival despite the challenging situation. It’s a new life I’m carrying inside me and no negativity will put me down.
I have started taking prenatal yoga classes from home and practice light exercises including meditation from my balcony where I can breathe some fresh air, even though the experience is not the same. I am a person who likes to believe that positivity can overcome any challenge in life, and we need to remain positive at all times even during this pandemic.”