Oh My God, I’m Pregnant! (Q&A about Covid-19 and Expat Pregnancy)

November 18, 2020

Expat pregnancy during a pandemic — fears and anxieties of a pregnant expat during Covid-19 & what I’ve experienced in Calgary, Canada.

South African Pregnant Expat during Covid in Calgary

Yup, that was the response to the double-lined pregnancy test results I took a day (or two) before my missed period. At the time, I was three weeks and 5 days pregnant (that’s because you count from the first day of your last period). I had a weird inkling that I was pregnant — almost from the day of ovulation — but I (somehow) still found myself in shock at the thought of us getting pregnant quite so quickly. Hence, the “Oh my God” reaction. Well, we’re now 29 weeks pregnant and I’ve only just wrapped my head around writing this post.

Why have I been so quiet about the pregnancy?

It’s clearly a weird time, but more than that, I’ve felt anxious to share our story because I know how lucky we are to be pregnant, and to not struggle. I’ve been hyper-aware of friends who have struggled so I’ve tried to avoid oversharing or bragging about just how well things have been going. It’s a strange balance when you’re so aware of others struggles to figure out how to still celebrate this baby. That said, in the final countdown, I’m realizing that if I don’t enjoy and document this, I might regret it. If this is the only time I will have a baby in my belly, I need to make sure I really enjoy it.

So… here we are: documenting this new adventure as much as we can, at least in the last few weeks!

How has the pregnancy been?

It’s actually been pretty great. Besides the initial nausea and extreme fatigue that lasted between 5.5 weeks and 11 weeks, I’ve felt better than ever. In fact, I think my body needs this level of progesterone in my life. Has there still been lows? Yes, of course. Every now and then there will be a low energy or mood day, but for the most part I haven’t felt pregnant. Bear in mind, I’m in the blissful ‘easy’ part of pregnancy still and I’m sure I’ll get grumpier as belly gets bigger and anxiety surges!

Pregnant during Covid?

Giving birth during a global pandemic is an added layer of stress that most women aren’t expecting when they get pregnant. We did, however, get pregnant knowing that Covid-19 was here and could potentially be here for the next two years. Yes, it’s a weird time to have a baby, but it also seemed like the right time. So, yes, it was planned! While we might have spent several years in Canada unsure about whether kids were on the cards for us, in the last year we’ve realized that we do want to start a family and we feel like we can actually do it in Calgary.

We knew that, for the most part, that there may be some changes to whether Craig could attend the ultrasounds, doctor’s appointments and, most importantly, the birth. That said, for the most part all of these experiences have been unaffected by Covid which I am grateful for — Craig has been able to attend all the ultrasounds and important appointments. I’m a little concerned about any potential changes to hospital policies for the birth as numbers keep increasing in Alberta at the moment, but I also feel like it’s unlikely that Craig will be refused entry along with me.

Other consequences of the pandemic has been the cancellation of our baby shower (which in the grand scheme of things, isn’t the worst) and potential delays of family members visiting Baby G once she arrives (which is sad). Being pregnant and not being able to share it in person with friends and family back in South Africa has made the feeling of distance more obvious. I know once she arrives, it’s going to weigh heavily on me as I watch Baby G grow without her grandparents around for the first few months.

Are we nervous to have a baby as expats?

We used to be. It might have been why we had initially put off the idea of starting a family for a while. Having a baby abroad, away from family, definitely sounded overwhelming and while we adjusted to Canada, it seemed like something we shouldn’t jump head first into yet. Our biggest concern was a lack of a support system, considering the huge life change that a baby would bring. As they say, it takes a village, and for a long time, we didn’t have one. Moving to Calgary and finding a support system is what really made it feel like starting a family is an option for us.

I’d love to share more about my experience being pregnant as an expat during Covid-19, so if you have any specific questions, send me a DM over on Instagram!

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