In just over four weeks' time, as the world continues to reel from the worst global health threat we have seen in at least a century
, I'll welcome a baby, my first. And, because of Covid-19, I'll work through the animal pain of labor with a stranger by my side. A midwife, not my husband, will be the only person who can hold my hand.
During a pandemic, it is of course a privilege to be worrying about the circumstances surrounding a new life rather than mourning the death of a loved one.
As a journalist I'm used to planning ahead. When I understood France and its 67 million people would be on lockdown
I immediately went online to order the crib, pram and newborn necessities, I figured that if France followed Italy it could also close its nonessential factories.
Over the past week, I've adjusted to life in isolation with my husband. I canceled the baby shower, signed up to live prenatal classes online. And I've embraced the new steps taken by the French government to erode personal freedoms.
To justify venturing outside my Parisian apartment -- for groceries or medicine from the pharmacy -- I handwrite a government-mandated permission slip and I walk within a kilometer radius of where I live, if I stray any further I risk getting fined.
With more than 1,000 deaths and 22,000 confirmed cases in France, I know these emergency measures
are necessary to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
But as my maternity leggings grow tighter so too does the bubble I live in as restrictions make it ever smaller.
I knew my parents wouldn't be allowed to meet the baby, but I didn't anticipate that my husband would be banned from the hospital, including the delivery room.
In France, for now at least, the Ministry of Health has not announced a nationwide blanket ban on birthing partners, but some individual hospitals have deemed it necessary to protect patients and medical staff. A health care system in New York announced similar measures, CNN reported over the weekend