Millions of people who need constant help and supervision, including many pregnant women, have found themselves in self-isolation due to the coronavirus in Russia and abroad. Now, to the usual anxieties for yourself and your unborn child, the fear of the unknown has been added: what will happen when the day of birth comes, what will happen if someone around you becomes infected with the coronavirus, what will happen if the child becomes infected? Photographer Maria Ionova-Gribina held a remote photo session with pregnant Russian women and recorded their stories.
I'm afraid of getting sick even with a common cold
Marianna, 33 years old, a medical journalist from Moscow, co-founder of the Wet Mantu Telegram channel:
Self-isolation is underway in Moscow. About a week before it started, I started to leave the house, twice carefully considering whether it was worth it. At that time, the city had a festive atmosphere on the contrary: everyone was trying to complete some business, to make purchases, but all this with gloomy faces, and the list of products was not at all for a gala dinner. It's pretty deserted everywhere now. At 10:00, for the first time, a warning about the danger of infection is heard from the street, and a loudspeaker is reminded of the self-isolation mode. The police are driving around the area. There are checkpoints on the roads, checking the pass of the driver and passengers, but they haven’t stopped me yet.
I am pregnant and will give birth in the next four weeks, so visits to the clinic cannot be avoided. And to the usual uncertainty and anxiety for many pregnant women were added fears and restrictions associated with the coronavirus.
I managed to feel sad because of the cancellation of partner births and visits, because of the inability to go to the pool.
I was angry that it was impossible to calmly choose a maternity hospital (in the end, I settled on where it was easier to arrange a meeting with the doctor). Now I am afraid to get sick even with a common cold, in this case I will most likely be assigned to some other hospital.
In the morning I do a little business, then, if the weather is good, I go for a walk with the dog or clean up, work again. I began to cook more, and now we bake bread so that we can go to the store less often. I completely stopped going there, it scares and upsets me that some people are not ready to keep their distance. Much less than a month ago, I read about the coronavirus. By the way, life is much safer if you look for answers to questions about the pandemic on the WHO website. And I'm more looking forward to the birth of a child than the end of the self-isolation regime.
Everything was not according to plan, but it went well
Anna, 30 years old, and Adam, 2 weeks old. Anna - graphic designer, Moscow:
We have been in self-isolation since about March 16, first, my husband moved from the office to a remote location, a few days later we took the child out of the kindergarten, although the kindergarten continued to work. There was no panic, a little anxious - yes. Self-isolation was further complicated by the fact that I was 39 weeks pregnant, and my doctor just flew in from vacation, and he was quarantined.
Before giving birth, which was on April 2, I did not go out at all, did not do scheduled examinations, did not get tested and did not quite understand how I would give birth.
At the hospital, upon admission, I was not tested for the virus. Yes, doctors and medical staff wore masks and gloves, but women in labor did not, and this was a little uncomfortable.
It didn't go according to plan, but it went well. Only my husband met me from the hospital. Before the quarantine, the eldest daughter went to kindergarten, and, of course, my thoughts about our life after the birth of the baby were very different from the new reality: I never thought of being locked in an apartment with a two-year-old, baby and husband.
Before closing everyone for "voluntary self-isolation", my mother and I agreed that she would come to us for a couple of weeks to help with the housework.
But her trip had to be canceled right on the day of departure, as there were already talks about passes and other restrictions under which my mother might not come back in the near future.
I am an introvert: they would tell me to sit at home alone - no problem, but when you are closed with other people, it slowly begins to choke. The hardest part is not knowing when it will end.
Sometimes a general anxiety breaks through me
Maria Makarova, 32 years old, Moscow:
I live in Moscow, I am engaged in scientific entrepreneurship in the field of electrical engineering. Our family has been in self-isolation since March 16. There are four of us in the family: me, my husband, daughter and a cat. I don’t remember at what moment the shooting took place. The passage of time is felt in a completely different way. Everything slowed down a little, slowed down, as if a sticky caramel was added to my life.
The first two weeks were difficult to organize a new life: my job, my husband's remote work, online education for my daughter, food delivery, cooking three times a day for the whole family.
Gradually, the everyday side of our life settled down. Thanks to my friends, I found good things to do for pregnant women. You don't need to go anywhere - everyone is at home, in a comfortable environment. We started sleeping more. The husband, however, began to work harder.
On the contrary, my volume of business tasks decreased, but home tasks increased.
Then came the weekly news from our government - and these constant changes move me the most and upset my balance. When they were forbidden to walk, I felt like an animal in a zoo. It's unthinkable to sit in a cage 24 hours a day! Especially pregnant.
We decided to leave for another region, to the house of my husband's parents. We thought for a long time whether it was worth going, whether it is possible to travel by car in other regions of Russia, whether we are dangerous for parents, how to organize work there, whether there will be a stable Internet, whether there is a reliable clinic for pregnant women in the city. And here we are.
Sometimes a general anxiety breaks through me. I try to read the news less and discuss it less.
Every trip to the hospital has become a threat to us
Asya Dolina, 36, journalist and blogger, New York:
Quarantine in the city for more than 40 days, this is not a strict quarantine with fines, but rather a very strong recommendation to stay at home. An abrupt transition to another mode of existence took place at the junction of March and April. And since I am in a position, we began to observe self-isolation from the beginning of March. I am very careful about this issue, because I realized early on that we are talking about a serious infection.
Before the pandemic, New York was one of the most active, partying, business, and densely populated cities in the world. New York is now the exact opposite. It is difficult to imagine a more amazing, cinematic, apocalyptic and implausible sight than empty New York. No people, no cars, no events, boarded up shop windows in Soho, closed restaurants.
This, of course, influenced our life, it cannot but affect now. We planned to spend this time together with my husband at home. Of course, we wanted to walk, we wanted to meet with friends, I wanted to make a baby shower (the custom is to throw a party for the expectant mother and celebrate the birth of an unborn child - approx. "Lenta.ru"), I wanted to arrange a photo session in a beautiful dress among the blooming magnolias and cherry blossoms in New York. All this had to be canceled. But in fact this is nonsense, especially when compared with the conditions in which doctors and those who cannot avoid direct contact with the virus, who risk their lives, find themselves.
From serious - every trip to the hospital became a threat to us, and by the end of pregnancy there are a lot of them.
We also had to change our plan to give birth in a New York hospital with my husband and doula.
The most important decision we made in early April was to go to the depths of Pennsylvania, to the small town of Mars. Close relatives of my husband live there, they were so kind that they invited us to their place and gave us the opportunity to move temporarily to them. Here we will give birth and live the first weeks of the child's life.
My husband is stuck in Italy, the borders are closed
Layla, 40, engineer, manager, doula, Vienna, Austria:
The sixth week of isolation is coming to an end. For the first five weeks, everything was very strict: the distance, handshakes were canceled even before the quarantine, the police were patrolling everywhere, and now there are a lot of them. Austrians are disciplined and obedient people, fines from 300 to 3000 euros. One day the government said: the next day, everyone, without exception, lives by the rules.
The city was completely empty - while walking the dog, in 30 minutes you could not meet a soul.
By the end of the fourth week, the statistics improved, and in the fifth the Chancellor weakened the regime, now people began to walk more and more freely, although the rules remain, but small shops have opened. You can only walk for two people or those who live together. Today I was in the center, it is almost empty.
Isolation has changed from external activity to internal activity. We have never spent so much time with children, I saw them in a new way, I realized that they are already very adults, that personal space and distance are important to them. Almost everyone can do it themselves and want more independence.
Initially there was a plan for a hospital birth, Austria allows home births, but does not encourage them.
The first one who suggested this [home birth] was my chosen midwife. We met with the doctor during the sixth week of quarantine. His phrase "Well, you are planning to give birth at home?" sounded like an offer and convinced me completely that if the course of events was successful I would stay where I started.
It makes me sad that my husband is stuck in Italy, the borders are closed, and the chances that we will be together at this wonderful time of the baby's appearance is still not much … But his presence is so important to me, even if you do an online broadcast - maybe in Zoom.
My daughter will be born, whom we jokingly call the horseman of the Apocalypse
Sveta Yavorskaya, 33 years old, producer from Moscow:
Today is the 51st day of my self-isolation, for exactly the same number of days I have been on maternity leave. In mid-May, my daughter Alice will be born, whom my husband and I jokingly call the horseman of the Apocalypse.
How I have been waiting for this decree! I planned to spend March traveling around the world, and April in preparation for childbirth. But the pandemic and the virus made adjustments very quickly.
In early March, I handed in two huge projects, presented my successor, and flew out of the office.
At first, all this was surreal: official reports about the disease were strange, only a few sick people were announced, the favorite restaurant still served the best BBQ ribs in the city, friends came to visit.
At the end of March, this feeling of school holidays faded away, ambulances began to meet at the entrance two or three a day, sick (and dead) appeared among friends, the government introduced well-known measures, and Moscow began to resemble Gilead (the state in the dystopia "The Handmaid's Tale "- approx." Lenta.ru ").
Having gone through all the stages of accepting the situation - from anger and recklessness to apathy and the TV series "The Walking Dead" - I resigned myself, googled how to maintain mental and physical stability, developed a more or less stable daily routine and entered the distance study of nutritional science.
Intercept plan "Don't fly away, my cuckoo": I get up and go to bed at the same time, every day I do special workouts for pregnant women from lessons on YouTube, practice yoga through Zoom and monitor nutrition.
The doctor who leads my pregnancy is finally happy with my lifestyle: if before I went to the Arctic for hiking, then to France for an international exhibition, watched the montages at night and was going to participate in the Oceanman swimming competition a month after giving birth, now I sleep, eat homemade food and meditate.
My childbirth from a clear scenario with an understandable team, setting and atmosphere moved to the concept of "it will be seen", because now nothing is clear, and the introductory notes change every week.
I deliberately focus on the "good": my husband still has a job, we managed to finish all major processes with repairs and furniture in a new apartment, we had a fight only twice in almost two months of self-isolation in a 24/7 format together, relatives are healthy, pregnancy is still easy, it turns out to support foundations and friends-entrepreneurs, the coffee machine and the stepper (a device that helps simulate walking - approx. "Lenta.ru") are working, and I learned to get new impressions.
There are two dogs in our family - one from the shelter, the other from the street. We often joke that before the coronavirus it was believed that my husband and I were saved by a dog, but now dogs are saving us by providing regular access to the street.
I still don't know where the birth will take place, and this uncertainty adds to the anxiety
Lena, 36 years old, type designer, Moscow:
It is the 36th day of isolation. There is a sense of anxiety in the background, even though we are at home and safe. I do not go to scheduled examinations. I was going to give birth with a doula, but partner childbirth has now been canceled almost everywhere, and everything goes to the fact that by the time of my birth they will be canceled everywhere. So I still don't know where the birth will take place, and this uncertainty adds to the anxiety.
My husband and I continue to work from home, walk on the balcony, order food via the Internet, and do not go outside. We have a seven-year-old daughter, who, of course, is sad in her apartment. Lack of movement and communication. So she plays with her friend and cousin on WhatsUp, calls grandmothers and watches tons of cartoons.
I really hope that after giving birth, the quarantine will end, and we can at least walk.