“Day 2 of self-isolation is already my Day 8. Pregnant women were advised to avoid social contact last week. Shock, anger and sadness have already eased, and I can now calmly watch the rest of the nation going through the same emotional turmoil. But some of my anxiety remains: Will I have to give birth without my boyfriend being there, as hospitals restrict access to maternity wards? Will I see my mother before the due date?
Working from home, from a tiny desk in our bedroom, keeps me busy. All the things I thought I have time for somehow do not fit in my day. I can only stare at the pile of books and online class files. Before the virus, I was rushing around like mad every day and now going for a walk or exercise seem like a big event to mentally prepare for. Sitting in the sunshine at lunch and soaking up the spring sun takes the full hour.
I understand that for some people the rapidity of change to lifestyle must have been overwhelming. It went from “wash you hands” on a Thursday to “stay inside your home” 11 days later. I never thought I could feel so much rage when hearing of people going to the pub on a Friday night – how could they? Seeing people gathering anywhere now, is almost like seeing movies where they smoke in airplanes – strange habits of a past gone by. As I am watching people on the street out of my office/ bedroom window I wonder: Are they really going on essential trips? Is this really a household group? Shall I keep a log of these activities and report them to the authorities? These creepy thoughts remind me of the East Germany I grew up in. In an ironic twist of fate, I gave up my treasured freedom of movement without much fight and succumbed to the sofa.
My boyfriend now tells me about the outside world and buys hair conditioner for me. He goes out to hunt for toilet paper and we are cutting each kitchen paper towel into three precise pieces. It’s not a decant lifestyle. But now is not the time to rebellious! For the next couple of months, I rely on midwifes and doctors who have not been exposed to the virus and have capacity to give me care. It’s not so hard to curtail ourselves for a couple of weeks.”