The New Normal – “We have to learn to live with it”…those famous last words as the Isle of Man lifted the portcullis and invited the world back in.

We have seen an influx of family members returning and visitors enjoying our beautiful island. But they come at a price, our case numbers have skyrocketed, and some of us are frightened.

The pregnant, the high risk, those who aren’t vaccinated. What do we do? What about us?

I am writing this from the perspective of a heavily pregnant woman who hasn’t been vaccinated. I chose not to, as up until recently, cases on the Isle of Man were relatively low, as was the risk. I have found the information available was often unclear, contradictory and almost always frightening. For my unborn baby, not having the jab felt like the right thing to do. 

We are constantly flooded with information on Covid. Seek and ye shall find beautiful titles such as:

PREGNANT WOMEN WAITING TO GET COVID-19 VACCINE ARE RISKING THEIR BABY’S LIFE, DOCTORS SAY

COVID CAN POST A GREATER RISK TO WOMEN IN THE LATER STAGES OF PREGNANCY

FREEDOM DAY IS JUST GOING TO FORCE PREGNANT WOMEN BACK INTO LOCKDOWN

COVID: STILLBIRTH AND PREMATURITY RISKS MAY BE HIGHER IN PREGNANCY

The list goes on and the information is deafening. 

I am 38 weeks pregnant, so really the baby could be here at any time. I was going to wait until the baby was born before I got vaccinated. We weighed up the risk, as it stood.

After the news of the island’s cases rising so rapidly this week (19th July), and the relaxation of isolation rules, I was forced to make some big decisions. My phone was blowing up with other pregnant friends and groups worrying about what to do, everyone equally as terrified. The consensus was, stay at home.

I called my health visitor and incidentally, she had just been told she can no longer do home visits with the rising numbers. She advised that I am safe to get the jab, following recent information that she had been given. So, after some serious thought, I called 111 and asked them to move me up the list. However, they told me there are no more first doses, they don’t know when they will be in. Fantastic. Maybe something we should have had in stock before the borders opened?

So, erm, what do I do now? Well I cry of course. I’m scared. Scared for my unborn baby, scared at the idea of birthing alone, scared of getting ill. My husband took the reins, and said we should lockdown. He is double jabbed 2+2, but wants to protect his family. He contacted anyone we had plans with and cancelled them. Cancelled any face to face meetings he had and we placed a home delivery grocery order. We are fortunate that he works from home anyway, we don’t have any older children who need to attend school, and we are pros at this lockdown thing now. May as well dust off the banana bread tins.

I see people talking down to others on social media who dare to express their concern, making them feel silly for not just getting on with it. The mean comments are mostly from double jabbed middle aged men (sorry, not sorry) who think people are scare mongering and that it’s ‘just like the flu’ etc. To you, Mr Jabbed, yes it probably will be like the flu (which I might add, middle aged men tend to handly pretty badly!) but to someone with an unborn baby in their uterus, is it just a flu? Or is it a virus that could cause irreversible damage to our babies? Cause lung problems in their already underdeveloped lungs, damaging the placenta, as studies have shown?

There is a lot of negativity in general, and I get it, it’s been a really rough ride since the pandemic started, people are tired of it. Social media has become an unfriendly place, all questions or queries are jumped on, any worries are dismissed or poo pooed. The vaccinated are rolling their eyes at the un-vaccinated. The un-vaccinated feel like choice has been taken away from them, and heavily pregnant women and high risk individuals are seeing all of this happen whilst staying inside during a heat wave.

When the baby comes, do we stop our family visiting incase they pass on the virus? Or do we learn to live with it and just take all the risks on the chin.

What are our actual choices? 

Learn to live with it – this means if we are unvaccinated, we could catch the virus and risk our own and our babies lives?

Have our partners catch the virus, thus putting them into isolation and not being able to be in the hospital for the birth.

Stay at home – for how long? For our entire pregnancy? What if we are still only in the first trimester?

Let our family members carry on with their lives, but isolate ourselves?

Get jabbed – potentially putting risk on our unborn babies? When will they get more first doses so we can actually do this?

It is a minefield. 

I guess I will stay at home and away from anyone outside of my household until I can be vaccinated. I have no reservations to turn all mama bear, and play ‘Get back’ by Ludacris to anyone who comes near me or my baby until the numbers start to drop again and we can actually start to live with it.

I believe in the vaccine, I just feel a bit forgotten about in the Govt’s grand plan.

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