Sat May 01 2021
Before the pandemic hit Ontario, myself and my partner decided to move into my dad's house with our toddler. Shortly after the move I came down with symptoms that pointed to Covid-19 (some of the people that helped us move had just travelled but none were symptomatic), but this was in April 2020 and testing was still very limited to high-risk individuals. I didn't end up in hospital, but for nearly two weeks I felt close to death, and remember vividly sitting in the bath struggling to breathe and crying, wondering what my husband and toddler would do without me.
After my recovery we found the pandemic survivable, to an extent. Living with family we were sheltered from the isolation that many faced. However, in November we discovered I was very unexpectedly pregnant. By February we decided to find an apartment of our own so that we could properly shelter to the degree we felt was necessary with rising variants and having firsthand knowledge about how serious this virus can be. While I believe it was the right choice, it has been extremely difficult. My husband is an essential worker, and I have been home alone for months taking care of a rambunctious three year old and surviving a very physically challenging pregnancy - with absolutely no help from family and friends. I can barely leave the house because of too often, even just going for a walk, I encounter people not distancing or wearing masks properly. It has seriously impacted the mental health of both myself (who has a history of depression) and my son, and I'm afraid will have long-term impacts on the pregnancy and my baby.
I find it frustrating that it took so long for Ontario to prioritize vaccines for pregnant people. The data was already out there showing increased risk (which is why we moved), not to mention that every pregnant person is physically responsible for not one but two lives in a very visceral way and therefore needs protection. Pregnant people are already battling the same loneliness/depression/anxiety that most people are struggling with, plus the added health anxiety that every medically vulnerable person experiences right now, plus the regular stress and physical ailments that crop up during pregnancy in regular times. The neglect I have felt during the pandemic as a pregnant person has been demoralizing and scary. I don't think our stories are more important than others, but it is definitely a unique experience of the pandemic that I think deserves attention.