’I gave birth at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic – this is how motherhood has been for me so far’

Liphelo Sobekwa (PHOTO: LipheloSobekwa/Instagram)
Liphelo Sobekwa (PHOTO: LipheloSobekwa/Instagram)

You’ve waited nine months for your baby to arrive and their arrival is clouded by global panic and fear. The coronavirus pandemic has created a challenging new reality for new parents, which they must face to keep themselves and their newborns safe.

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DRUM spoke to Pearl Sobekwa from Khayelitsha, Cape Town, who says that even though it’s a scary time, motherhood is still a beautiful thing.

“Since baby arrived, it’s been really beautiful. I’m happy he’s here and healthy. However, it’s been really stressful and can you believe the last time I had a proper night’s sleep was when I was seven months pregnant? For me, raising a newborn feels like being in bootcamp – it’s hard but so worth it at the same time. We’re nearing three months and it’s been a tiring yet rewarding time,” she says.

Due to Covid-19, many parents would have never known that the new additions to their families would be surrounded with so much fear.

Pearl expressed that even though there haven’t been many cases with babies contracting the virus, this is still a big fear for her.

“If one of us here at home were to contract it, I don’t even want to imagine my baby contracting it as we know they have weak immune systems”, she says.

“All the science behind babies being safe would not matter, I’d be consumed with worry – I would not know what to do.”

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“Where we live, in the township, we really don’t have the pleasure of having store deliveries and the like, so having to go out to buy my baby’s essentials is a real challenge.”

With this, Pearl says she must make sure she does not touch a lot of things and sanitises frequently. “I preach hygiene to my family every moment of the day, one really cannot be safe knowing the nature of this virus. I also have to watch that they aren’t too touchy with my baby, not to kiss him or anything like that – but they have been understanding so that makes it a bit easier.”

Finances during this time are also something many families have to worry about. “Financially, yes, it could have been much easier if I were able to go to work but at the same time, if things were different, I wouldn’t have had this much time to spend with my baby. I wouldn’t be breastfeeding and even though I hardly get sleep, I wouldn’t want to be away wondering if he’s safe or okay. So, finances are really something we’re trying to navigate,” she expresses.

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“Motherhood is no child’s play, and to be doing it during a global health pandemic really is unfortunate. Because above all of this, the love shared between mother and child is priceless,” Pearl adds.