Header Credits Tasneem J. (@tjphotography53)
As the country prepared for lockdown and self isolation, I prepared for perhaps the biggest event of my life: bringing a child into this world. We all have hopes and dreams for this day: how we will feel, what will happen, how we will prepare. I, just like all bairao, had been diligently praying my duas, preparing my home and mentally getting ready for this life change.
I had a fairly difficult pregnancy. I couldn’t wait for my baby to arrive safe and sound so all the problems could be over. My husband and I headed to the hospital. We arrived with all our bags only to be told ‘your husband can’t enter, you will be doing this alone’.
It’s too much to adjust your expectations so suddenly. I think of myself as a strong person but at that moment I crumbled and cried. It was unfathomable to me that I could have no help, no support during this time.
Nevertheless we must persist. Babies and biology wait for no one.
The next few days were the best and worst of my life. I was gifted with my wonderful baby, my single greatest source of happiness. But I was also alone, no one to share this joy with. No one to pray azaan in his ears, no one to hold him whilst I recovered. No one to take newborn pictures of us, or to help me get his handprints documented. No one to help me with his first feed or to watch him so I could shower.
Three days later, I could finally go home. My husband met his son for the first time on the pavement outside the hospital and just like that, my worries washed away. I could do what the rest of the world was doing now, I could hide away at home with my tiny family.
Quarantine has been a time for self reflection: how do we live our lives, are we being productive, are we there for our families? For me, it has been forever linked to emotional turmoil and eternal happiness, which can’t be separated. Birth stories are almost always difficult and unique to everyone. This is mine. We are still in quarantine, so desperately looking forward to the time when our baby can meet the rest of the world. But for now we will nest at home, thankful that this time, at least, is ours.