Pregnancy during a pandemic: "I feel more calm this time since life moves more slowly than usual"

Alejo and I met during a long weekend holiday the Argentinian coast, in Mar del Plata City, in October 2014 and have been together since. We really connected and 6 months later we decided to move in together. On our first anniversary, we went back to Mar del Plata to celebrate, and while we were staring at the beautiful sunset, he proposed! A little while after booking and setting the date for our wedding, we decided to start looking forward to having our first child and within the first ¨try¨ we got pregnant with Santino. Full of happiness, we had to re-schedule our wedding to take place 6 months earlier than planned, as our first wedding day was the same as Santino´s due date! Santino is now 3 years old and I’m currently 4 months pregnant with our second child.

This pregnancy is very different from the first one, since despite the strange circumstances, I am calmer than in my previous pregnancy. Life moves more slowly than usual and I can also rest more at home. It’s a big contrast with the first one with which I worked full time for a company and at the same time we were planning our wedding.

Being pregnant during quarantine time has actually been very positive for me personally so far, as it allows me to spend more time at home with my other little one, feel and experience it all more calmly each day at a time, even though I can´t share it the same way with my family and friends as I did the first time around.

Compared to my previous pregnancy, doctor visits are very sparse this time, as my pregnancy is low risk and here in Argentina, we are almost reaching the ¨peak time¨ of Coronavirus. When I do have appointments, I have to go on my own (partners cannot join), maintaining distance everywhere and with facemasks, something never experienced in our country before. The worst part is not being to able to be together at these appointments with my partner and especially being at the ultrasounds alone, as I would normally of course want to share these moments with Alejo and Santino. I feel that is the hardest part. For me, it is a little bit positive not having so many appointments as now, every time I have one, I also have to leave my son under

the care of somebody else.

The Argentinian law has special protocols during the pandemic, but luckily both parents can attend labor/birth. I know it’s very strict at this time, I hope it becomes easier the following months for all the mothers/fathers to be. The biggest issue is that many clinics attend to coronavirus patients next to maternity areas making it a risky situation.

Luckily, I feel very well, just some nausea but other than that I feel fine so I don’t feel too concerned about seeing my doctor less. My belly is growing day by day and Santino enjoys it a lot, touching and asking when his little sister is ¨coming out¨ with great joy. My due date is late November / beginning of December but as Santino was born at 41.5 weeks by C-section (due to no active labor starting on its own), we decided this time to have a planned C-section at 38 weeks.

I have a degree in Fashion Design from the University of Buenos Aires and I have worked in many companies for several years and also was a teacher’s assistant for a few years. After the first year Santino was born, I felt it was difficult to balance my working schedule and needs with my child’s needs and that a was missing a lot of his milestones, so I decided to stop working on dependency relationship and start working freelance. Now I work on average 3-4 hours a day from home and have expanded my line of work, managing social networks and media for private companies, while being available for my family all day without the stress and pressure I used to live in.

When I had Santino, I took maternity leave for the first 6 months (the most I could according to the Argentinian law without losing my job). After I went back, while I was at work, Santino spent some days under the care of my mother in law and my mother, but it became complex as one of them didn´t really commit and I had to skip my job several days of the week. Then I tried daycare after he turned 1, but he kept getting sick, so finally Alejo and I felt that the best for our family was to make a change.

Alejo is a very loving and cooperative partner and in spite of being responsible for the house finances, we share our time and daily activities together to assure Santino´s happiness. Working as a team is very important for us as a family.

When the lockdown began in Argentina, we found it difficult to be all day at home at first, since we had very active lives before. Santino recently had started kindergarten (just 2 weeks before quarantine), football lessons and swimming at a local club. I used to work in a construction site and at home (while Sonny was at kindergarten) and have now not been there for more than 100 days.

We especially are missing our social life and being apart from our closest relatives. Our social contact is still very limited, and we don’t know when it will be possible again to get together with so many people we haven’t seen for months. Some parts of our country reopened with different protocols, but this first week of July everything went back to phase 1, especially where we live, in the capital city of Argentina. Here and in its surroundings are 75% of the country´s cases so for now, we can´t be sure how things will develop.

At first I felt a little struggle mentally being all day at home, but in time, with the help of my partner’s very positive ‘cup half full’ outlook, I started feeling more positive about being at home because of all the new possibilities of spending time together. As these are the last few months of him as an only child, we try to do many activities involving the three of us, and we can tell how much he enjoys it.

We in particular just feel very lucky to be healthy and safe at home. We try to focus on the positives as so many families are struggling during this time.

My brother in law and nieces live in the same building (and work together with my husband), so we actually quarantine together, and our children are able to spend time and play together. They are very close, more like siblings than cousins, it’s really something so special for them to grow up together and have each other during this time.

Giselle - Mom of Santino & 4 months pregnant - Buenos Aires, Argentina

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