One of the hardest experiences for women is giving birth. Sure, pain relief exists, but it’s still no walk in the park.
And sometimes, women have no choice but to deliver naturally, without medical help.
Most women who were expecting their new arrivals this year didn’t think that they’d have to deliver during such a big moment in history. Protocols for births vary across the nation. Some women can’t even be with their partners during the process, depending on the hospital and state. And many also have to wear masks.
Wearing masks during labor when you’re already uncomfortable is tough to do.
However, these women managed. And now they have a bone to pick with all the people who refuse to wear masks while out in public.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that wearing a mask is one of the best ways to control the spread of the virus. If two people wear masks, the chance of the virus passing is very minimal. Masks, along with handwashing and social distancing, are considered integral for opening up the economy safely. But people still fail to listen.
Plenty of women came forward to talk to Today about their experiences, especially after news stories have emerged regarding violence that has erupted over masks. Some people are so against wearing masks that they’re willing to fight — or even kill — people who make the demands.
One of the scariest incidents happened at a dollar store in Flint, Michigan. Two men killed a security guard in the store after the guard enforced a policy that required wearing masks. Prior to his murder, Calvin Munerlyn was also spat at. He wasn’t even the person who created the rule to begin with.
This was all because of the refusal to wear a mask for, at most, a half hour. A man lost his life due to such a small disagreement. So it’s more important than ever that these moms are speaking out on the topic. One of those moms is Amanda Rodriguez, who also suffers from asthma.
“I gave natural birth to a baby (unmedicated) WHILE WEARING A MASK from the point I entered that hospital up until I left…so tell me again why you can’t breathe while wearing yours 20-30 min in a grocery store?” she tweeted, per Today. She was even more vocal after hearing about the experiences her mother was having.
Her mom works at a salon, which means that she’s also had to put new practices in place in the name of safety. Supposedly, plenty of clients have complained about wearing a mask. “I’m like, if I can push through labor with a mask on, I think your customers can go through a haircut with theirs on,” Amanda commented.
Amanda wore her mask at the hospital for two entire days. “Was it comfortable? No,” she admits. “But I knew it was for my own safety. It’s irritating to me that people are upset they have to wear a mask to the grocery store.” She’s not the only mom who has tweeted about the experience.
Since plenty of births are still happening, plenty of other new moms have been in Amanda’s shoes. And like Amanda, many also have conditions that make wearing a mask less comfortable. But they still know that it’s the best way to help protect the hospital staff who are still working hard every day for their community.
“I went through labor and giving birth while wearing a dust mask, yet there are grown men in this country who can’t deal with being asked to tie a rag around their face to go to the supermarket?” tweeted Julia Kite-Laidlaw on June 25. “I’ll never think of myself as a weakling again…”
And it’s not like these moms still have the opportunity to take them off once the baby gets there. They need to keep protecting both their newborn and the hospital staff. Since the virus causes no symptoms in many carriers, having everyone wear a mask is the only way to ensure safety.
Women who wore a mask while in labor likely had to wear masks often prior to the delivery, as well. According to ECommunity, being pregnant changes your body in ways that affect your health and immunity. “Researchers don’t know if pregnant women are more likely to get [the disease], but pregnancy can cause changes to your immune system that can cause any viral illness to be more severe,” the health network wrote. “You should take extra safety precautions.”
And that’s not all. Many newborns haven’t had the chance to meet their extended family based on the spread of the virus. Masks aren’t recommended for children under the age of 2, which means that families need to be extra careful and stay home to try to avoid contact with others. It’s a big struggle, especially since it’s not how any mother imagined the first days at home.
Nashville radio host Jai Kershner was also open about her experience. Jai just welcomed a new baby, and she also suffers from asthma. “If I can wear a mask through 38 hours of labor, a c-section, and recovery… you can do it for an hour while running to the grocery store and/or other errands,” she said, per Today.
She spoke with Today further, making it clear that the brief inconvenience of a mask will help things return back to normal at a faster rate. “Wearing a mask is at most an inconvenience. You’re not losing your freedom,” she said.
“Be inconvenienced for a little bit and let’s protect each other,” she continued. “We all want to get back to our regularly scheduled lives. If we [band] together, we can stomp this out a little quicker.” It’s something to think about if you, yourself, have been refusing to wear a mask.
If we all work together, this will only be temporary. As a vaccine doesn’t exist just yet, masks seem to be one of the best methods we have in keeping our friends and neighbors safe. If so many women in labor can wear them with limited complaints, why can’t everyone?