A STUDY has found that the virus can cause babies to suffer severe infection.     Karen Sandison African News Agency (ANA)
A STUDY has found that the virus can cause babies to suffer severe infection. Karen Sandison African News Agency (ANA)

Living through a coronavirus pandemic: Moms anxious about their children's welfare

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Apr 4, 2020

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Johannesburg - Ntsiki Ntsibande might live in a remote village hundreds of kilometres away from the coronavirus epicentre in Johannesburg, but fear of her infant daughter contracting the deadly virus has her in a constant state of anxiety.

“I sometimes wish it was possible to put her back in my tummy until this is all over,” the young mother said. “She was safer there.”

Ntsibande shares a house in Nhlazatshe, Mpumalanga with her 10-month-old baby and several relatives.

While she has for weeks done all she can to sanitise herself and her daughter as well as their belongings to minimise the chances of them contracting Covid-19, the nonchalant attitude of her family members towards their own personal hygiene has left her feeling helpless.

“I’m from a big family, and they are always asking to hold and play with her, but they don’t wash their hands as often as we do, and we are struggling to keep a distance from each other.”

While her loved ones are convinced she is simply being paranoid, she thinks their lackadaisical approach to the pandemic could result in them contracting the virus and then infecting herself and her daughter.

“The lockdown has been very stressful for me because most of the people in my village have not been taking it seriously,” she said.

“They are still visiting friends, they go out in the streets, and even my niece still goes out to play with her friends.”

The Mpumalanga mother says while she can’t control the behaviour of those around her, she has vowed to do whatever she can do to protect herself and her infant. “I will continue to disinfect her toys and wash her hands as often as I can.”

While mothers across the world fear the worst for their children amid the coronavirus outbreak, pregnant women are also concerned about the health of their unborn babies.

This includes Charlene Naidu from North Riding in Johannesburg, who is terrified about giving birth during the coronavirus outbreak.

“I feel very anxious and scared for my unborn baby, and what’s even more worrying is that my husband is an essential worker and has to go to work daily,” she said..

The first-time mom-to-be, whose due date is on Tuesday, started taking precautions against Covid-19 when the first few cases were confirmed in Gauteng.

“I started working from home because my maternity leave had not kicked in yet.

“I restricted visitors to our house, and even now, when my husband comes back from work or the grocery shops, he sanitises himself and takes a hot shower as soon as he can.”

Meghan Lupton from Helderkruin on the West Rand is in a similar situation, with her due date just under a month away. “I am in total lockdown now,” she said.

“There are bottles of sanitiser all over my house, and when my husband goes out to buy groceries, he immediately comes back and sanitises himself and immediately gets into a bath or the shower.”

Saturday Star

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