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Planning, preparation, and paranoia




When the coronavirus started making the news, it was terrifying to see the extent of its spread and the death rate. When South Africa got its first positive case, I knew that transmission was inevitable.

When lockdown started, we recognised that we needed to start examining our lives. First, we updated our wills, including discussing what would happen if we both died. This included making sure that we knew each other’s passwords and the policies or debits we were responsible for. This was imperative as we have two little girls, a four-year-old and an 11-month-old.

As we continue working, we are grateful to have our nanny living on the property with us to take care of our girls.

I feel disheartened that I can’t spend much time with them, and I can’t do all the fun activities with them I found online. My oldest is bored at home, and is getting more screen time than I’m comfortable with, but I’m trying to let go, and just keep her safe and loved. She moves onto new activities quickly, and I can’t keep up. She picks up on our conversations, and knows that she has to stay inside as there is a virus, and that mom and dad wear masks when they go out to work.

This is one of the reasons we have decided to send her to my mother-in-law for the remainder of the lockdown. I will miss her, but recognise that it’s best for her right now.

Our youngest will stay with us as I’m still breastfeeding. I was considering whether to wean her, but I know how beneficial breast milk is especially in combatting the coronavirus, so I’ll continue to do so. The problem is that, because I’m so anxious, my breast milk supply is diminishing, and it’s difficult to express at work.

I have made sure to plan meals until the end of the month with the food available in the house.

Marc and I now sleep in separate bedrooms to minimise exposure because of the high-risk work we do. When we arrive home from work, we take our shoes off before entering the house, sanitise our hands, and shower before interacting with the girls.

We are taking supplements to support our immune system. We have also discussed giving one another drips with high doses of vitamin C, but haven’t done so yet.

While we try our best to make living at home as normal as possible, our anxiety is hard to deal with. Marc wakes up in the middle of the night, and I struggle to fall asleep. The conspiracy theories and research studies are stressful, and I don’t know what to believe most of the time.

The hardest part is that we were considering whether to try for another baby, but we need to put those plans on hold until we know what the situation will be in a few months’ time.

  • Timor Lifschitz is a registered nurse, midwife and certified lactation consultant.

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