Infected with the COVID-19, Colombian expat forced to change careers

Published on 2020-08-24 at 14:38 by Javier Olivas Alguacil
Hanny has seen how her work reality has radically changed this year. Supporting moms in pre and postpartum is a task that requires closeness, empathy and confidence, but this process of accompaniment has been disturbed by the health crisis and its impositions of social distancing and confinement. At the same time, the Colombian expat in France caught the virus and had to remain in bed for weeks.

Colombian, anthropologist and perinatal companion, Hanny lives in France and explains her experience during this year marked by the COVID-19 sanitary crisis. She contracted the virus a few months ago and overcame this ordeal, but along the way, she had to face the complexity of confinement and work-life balance. She works mainly accompanying Spanish-speaking women during pregnancy, and during and after delivery. But the new context has forced her to adapt her modus operandi and develop her work remotely. Like many other people, she has gone through a process of resilience, reinventing her present to look to the future with hope and optimism.

How has the COVID health crisis impacted your professional life?

It has been catastrophic, since March I have not been able to work. First, because I caught the virus and for almost two months I was weak, in bed most of the day without the strength to get up and with symptoms that prevented me from leaving the house. When I recovered, I wanted to resume Facebook advertising, which is what I generally do to attract clients since I am a freelance entrepreneur, but I was surprised that in hospitals our presence was no longer authorized. Even at the beginning of the confinement, not even the father was authorized in the delivery room. For the pre and postnatal monitoring, there is a lot of fear of letting a stranger into the house, who may have the virus, so May and June were not very financially productive months. Before getting into a precarious economic situation, I decided to do an instructor training “Zumbini” (zumba for babies and young children) and I am currently working on that.

What new challenges do you face for the future?

My professional life is on hiatus due to this pandemic. However, I am still preparing an exam that I want to pass in April 2021 in order to become a certified lactation consultant, that will allow me to open my own practice and perhaps regain my income from before the health crisis.

What lessons have you learned from this experience?

Well, the first is that my health was not as good as I thought. This disease attacked people like me: who sleep little, who spend the day and night drinking coffee to stay awake, who spend a lot of time in front of the computer and take little daylight and fresh air, who eat anything and everything and have weak immune systems. I don't want it to happen again and I'm trying to eat better, sleep more, and have a healthier lifestyle overall.

Would you give any advice to people who may go through this same situation?

I wrote an article in the company of an epidemiologist that summarizes a series of tips to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and manage symptoms if they have caught the virus but are at home. And apart from physical health, I think that COVID-19 is a test, a challenge that forces us to rethink our rhythm of life, to rehearse other arenas as I have had to do now to continue earning a salary that pays the rent and food , and to enjoy the little things in life such as the possibility of going out, enjoying a park, the forest, nature. Everything that was taken from us during our confinement.