Pregnancy during the COVID-19 crisis

  • FromParisToMoris
Published 2020-04-15 14:07

Despite the health crisis which seems to have brought the world to a halt, life is still running its course. How does one prepare for childbirth in the context of a global health crisis? Between working remotely, cooking and prenatal yoga, Julie, a French expat living in Mauritius, shares with us her daily life as a confined future mother.

Where do you come from and how long have you been living in Mauritius? What made you and your husband move here?

I come from Paris. My husband and I have been in Mauritius for a year and a half. We wanted to change our routine. Expatriation was something we talked about but we did not necessarily know where we wanted to go. Sébastien, my husband, was offered a great opportunity in Mauritius and after weighing the pros and cons, we decided to try the adventure in August 2018. Of course, I did not want to move here without also having a job. I did not want to get here and do nothing. So I applied, interviewed, and finally got a job offer that allowed us both to come live here.

The COVID-19 crisis started in the middle of your pregnancy, how did you hear about it? How do you experience lockdown today?

It is true that I was already pregnant when we heard about the virus. Since I have family in China, I was quite aware of what was going on but we weren't that worried. Like many people, we did not think it would escalate to this extent. And it also seemed to all be happening so far from Mauritius.

Today I am just over 7 months pregnant. There are advantages and disadvantages to this lockdown. We always try to see the positive side of things. Yes, there is a health risk, there are things we can no longer do, we can no longer go out. On the positive side, I usually work in Port Louis and spend an average 2 hours a day on commuting. I am lucky to be able to work from home and carry on with my professional activity despite the lockdown. I no longer have to travel, which is a big advantage. It allows me to rest at home, to eat better, and to enjoy being with my husband who is also working from home.

You have decided not to return to France and to stay in Mauritius. Why?

Going back to France crossed our minds. But we quickly made the choice to stay for several reasons. We have a cat and a dog and I couldn't see myself leaving without them.

And then, if we return to France, who do we return to? My in-laws are in the north of France, my family is in the Paris region. We would not have had the same lockdown framework. Here, we have our own accommodation, we have our home. There were more advantages to staying in Mauritius, especially the fact that the weather is nice and I think that the weather has a huge impact on morale.

Childbirth can be a stressful time, even more so we imagine, during this time. How did you prepare for this coming birth?

Certainly the health crisis is making things more stressful. But we tell ourselves that since we are at home together, if anything happens, if I feel unwell, for example, my husband is with me and he can take me immediately to the hospital if necessary.

Another concern, I could not make my last check-up because the gynecologist can no longer open his cabinet. But for the moment everything is going well and the previous check-ups were always positive. We know we can call the clinic whenever we want if we have questions or concerns. The services are excellent.

At the logistical level, we have already taken the necessary measures. We already have the baby's bed, furniture, clothes ... Fortunately, we had everything planned ahead of the lockdown. Of course, we are still missing a few last minute things but it is nothing absolutely essential. We just didn't have time to meet nannies and visit creches but I will have 14 weeks of maternity leave so we will see that later. One problem at a time.

Any advice for mothers-to-be in this situation?

My husband and I are lucky to be able to spend time with each other and to be able to rest at home.

You should not worry too much,worrying is never good for the baby. See things as positively as possible, keep busy. I do a bit of sports like prenatal yoga, I read a little more.

I also had a blog project before the lockdown, and the curfew order was the trigger. It was an opportunity to launch it, to share our experience of living in Mauritius and to give a glimpse of the reality of the life of expatriates.

Are you planning to return to France after the COVID-19 crisis?

Having a child was not necessarily considered when we lived in France for various reasons, including the way of life in Paris. We have smaller spaces, life is quite expensive, so it was not on the agenda. When we arrived in Mauritius, we saw that the quality of life was different and we were able to really project ourselves.

Here the conditions are ideal for a child’s upbringing. For early childhood in particular, Mauritius is a truly great setting. The question of return may arise for university choices, but it is not for now.