Childbirth is an essential but rather stressful event in the life of parents and mothers in particular. There are many different childbirth methods: some prefer to go to the hospital, and others stay at home. The impressions and complexity of the process also depend on various factors that determine the individual experience of the mother. This paper is focused on the outcomes of an interview with one woman in labor, who will long for her emotions and tell about the process itself.
I interviewed a mother named Natalie, who gave birth on June 9th, 2020. Her experience was especially interesting due to her circumstances, which was the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Giving birth during the pandemic was not her birth plan, yet this was universally unexpected, and she had to deal with the challenges associated with it. The delivery took place in the midwife-led unit. Natalie wanted to have a water birth, as she practiced breathing and hypnobirthing techniques. The news about the coronavirus contributed to some excessive anxieties. Hence, the mother felt safe keeping the baby inside, and her delivery was a week over her due date. The midwife recommended the mother be induced, which was not a part of a plan for a mother. Nevertheless, after speaking to her husband, she decided that being induced was the option that they would consider. Although the birth process was successful, the mother was concerned about her husband not supporting her as planned. Nevertheless, the midwife, anesthetist, and nurses communicated with Natalie and empowered her, so she felt calm and confident.
At home, Natalie felt support from her husband, Adam, and her mother. She had the opportunity to have rest whenever she felt the need for it. My husband took responsibility for ensuring that Natalie had at least 7 hours of sleep at night and took care of the baby at night. Hence, the typical day at home consisted of breastfeeding and talking to the baby whenever possible. During the baby’s sleep, Natalie could do house chores and read to maintain a calm environment at the house. Cooking was shared between Natalie and her mother.
During the baby’s first year, Natalie maintained a nutrition-rich diet to be able to breastfeed. Solid food had not yet been introduced. When the baby was four-month-old, she started to roll over, and after a month, she was able to sit down without support. Approximately at that time, the baby began to crawl, and it brought parents to hope that soon enough, she would start to walk along as well. However, the baby started walking only when she was older than a year.
During the late first year of the baby’s development, toys that produced sounds caught the most of her attention. Her favorite toy was a duck, which had several buttons, and when they were pressed, the duck sang a song, played music, or just quacked. Whenever the baby started crying, showing her the duck and playing music from it contributed to the comfort and distraction as she often laughed at the duck’s quacks.
In Natalie’s family, it is still argued what the first word spoken by a baby as she mumbled various syllables that sounded like “ball,” “ba,” or “buba was.” As Natalie’s mother is Russian, she was often referred to as “ba,” a shortened version of “babushka” – a grandmother in Russian. The Russian language in the house was spoken between Natalie and her mother. However, the couple does not plan to teach their baby, Russian. The baby was really interested in music and songs, and later a toy piano, which produced the sound of different animals, became her favorite toy. Overall, the baby’s temperament could be described as relatively calm. Natalie did not mention anything that could be considered extraordinary in terms of child behavior or health concerns. On the contrary, she referred to a baby as an “angel” as it never caused excessive stresses or challenges.
Thus, we were able to take a closer look at Natalie’s story and learn about her individual experience of childbirth. This case is remarkable in part due to the pandemic’s impact on the mother’s perception. Through the interviews, it was also possible to reveal the role of emotional support of the partner and the impressions of the first months of the baby’s life.