The news that pregnant people and their partners are to face continued isolation and extreme rules has been met with consternation and frustration and a renewed call for easing of restrictions for people using maternity services.
Speaking about plans to continue with restrictions, Siobh̄an O’Donoghue said “living through this Covid-19 pandemic has been rough for everyone – but for pregnant women and their partners it’s been an absolute nightmare. From being told bad news alone, going through labour without support, cancelled antenatal classes – there’s so many ways that pregnant people have been let down.”
New mother Emma Carroll said “it’s clear now that golf, horse-racing and other sports, dominated by men, are far higher on the priority list of health chiefs and politicians than pregnant women and new mothers.”
Speaking on behalf of Uplift members who have come together to campaign for better maternity care during Covid19, new mother Linda Kelly said “we feel so let down and angry. Every decision over the past year in relation to maternity services has resulted in pregnant women and people, partners, new parents feeling abandoned, ignored and devalued. Having a baby is a journey filled with joy, worries and vulnerability. Without the people who love us the most, to hold our hand, facing it can seem like a terrifying, traumatising ordeal.”
She continued, “what is happening now is a symptom of deep problems in maternity care in Ireland. Yes we are in the middle of a global pandemic and need to do everything we can to keep people safe. However it’s clear from the way these restrictions have been designed and implemented, who has been listened to, what is being prioritised, that yet again maternity care is being sidelined.”
54,103 people have signed the petition calling for removal of restrictions that deny fathers and partners the right to be present at all antenatal scans and appointments, and to be able to be present throughout the entirety of labour and for the duration of the hospital stay. 709 people have also shared their experiences of being pregnant during Covid19.