Life is now. Giving birth during the pandemic

Alessandro Gandolfi, Photojournalist, Italy
At the Vittore Buzzi Hospital, Serena gave birth to Edoardo, who weighed in at 3.5 kilos and boasts a long tuft of black hair. The new protocol dictates that everyone present has to wear face masks at all times. The baby’s father just couldn’t contain himself, however, and for a split second lowered his mask and kissed his exhausted wife on the lips under the gaze of the attending midwives. “My son’s just been born,” says Massimo with tears in his eyes,” and I’ve got to celebrate in some way.” Iaki cried too the other evening at San Raffaele Hospital, while being present at the birth of his daughter Audrey, and so did Diarti, while watching the screen of a tablet on Tuesday, as he greeted the arrival of his daughter Camilla. At the Humanitas San Pio X Hospital, in fact, fathers are not allowed to attend a birth in person, but the hospital provides them with a live stream of the event to watch on a tablet. Entering the world at the time of coronavirus might be original but it is not the simplest thing in the world. Ilaria, who is seven-months pregnant, explains, “You hope to give birth surrounded by the love of family and friends, and instead you find yourself alone with your partner surrounded by fear and insecurity. The fear of contagion, the limitations of medical checkups, and not being able to attend the antenatal classes.” The words of the doctors, however, are reassuring: there is no evidence of mother-to-child transmission during childbirth. This doesn’t change the fact that the pre-triage procedures, with different pathways for infected mothers, involve obligatory protective clothing and solitude, turning the experience into an obstacle course. “Giving birth in the time of COVID-19,” explains Lavinia, also in her seventh month, “means checkups and classes that get cancelled, ever-changing hospital protocols, and managing the emergency in the absence of friends and family.” But as Wislawa Szymborska wrote, “You’re here, so you have to pull through it, you will pull through it, and therein lies the beauty.”

This website uses cookies. Please confirm if you accept our tracking cookies. You can also decline tracking, so that you can continue to visit our website without any data sent to third party services. We use cookies and similar technologies to recognize your repeat visits, as well as to analyze traffic. On/Off To learn more about cookies, view our “Cookies Policy”

Necessary cookies
Necessary cookies enable core functionality such as security, network management and accessibility. You may disable these by changing your browser settings, but this may affect how the website functions.

We'd like to set analytics cookies to help us to improve our website by collecting and reporting information on how you use it. The cookies collect information in a way that does not directly identify anyone.