Ask any mother: Nothing about childbirth is easy. But now, in the time of the coronavirus pandemic, labor and delivery has become even more difficult. Women are now giving birth with masks on, and in many cases, they aren’t even able to have their partner beside them.
Many hospitals, like New York City’s New York-Presbyterian, made the difficult choice to disallow birthing partners and require women to give birth alone. It’s a devastating reality that some experts say is necessary in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and keep patients safe. Here’s their tweet about their coronavirus prevention policy:
#COVID19 Update: March 22, 2020
— NewYork-Presbyterian (@nyphospital) March 22, 2020
Although the experience of giving birth alone — let alone while wearing a cloth face covering — is no doubt unbelievably hard, women are tough. And they’re proving it, by sharing their labor stories on social media and urging Americans to toughen up and follow suit in order to protect their already-overtaxed medical care workers.
Twitter user @iamlaurenmiles who gave birth on July 4 tweeted the following:
if I can wear a mask for 10+ hours and deliver a baby, you most definitely can wear a mask to Target.
— LSM (@iamlaurenmiles) July 6, 2020
A supportive commenter offered her congrats, saying women are “something else”:
ðð¾ I wear one to work for 12 hours but I couldn’t imagine 10 hours while giving birth. Women are something else. Congratulations!
— Muna (@heiraden) July 6, 2020
Twitterer @sierraautumns says shopping with a mask on might not be totally comfortable, but points out that giving birth while wearing a mask is MUCH harder. Yet women are doing it every day without complaint:
go ahead and be upset you have to wear a mask to buy eggs in Costco, but just remember my patients are giving birth practically alone with a mask on their entire delivery. don’t be selfish.
— sierra schiffbauer (@sierraautumns) June 30, 2020
And one mom-to-be (@chmpgnsprnva4) is telling Twitter to mask up and hush up:
Dear whiny babies of Twitter, in a few months I will be giving birth with a mask on. Literally hours of labor and extreme pain with a mask on. If I can do that, you can wear one for 30 minutes at target #BOOM #MaskUp
— Kate Bilowitz (@chmpgnsprnva4) June 27, 2020
Twitter user @KateGregory_ reminds us that we are stronger than we know:
There are women out there right now giving birth with a mask on. You can do hard things, you just have to want to and try. https://t.co/7IuZvaMV7S
— Kate Gregory (@KateGregory_) July 1, 2020
Twitter user @cherlytemple32 was more blunt, telling men that if women can wear masks during labor, then others can deal with the inconvenience while shopping or picking up takeout food:
Men are being the biggest pansies about this whole mask thing. Like, I’m so sorry you had to wear a mask to order your food, but women are out here literally giving birth with masks on. I think you’ll be just fine.
— Drastic. (@cherlytemple32) July 10, 2020
And dads who witnessed their partners heroically give birth with a mask on totally agree:
My wife and I spent 2 days in the hospital two months ago with masks on the entire time including while she was giving birth!!! So if she can do that I’m sure you can wear a mask while you are just sitting there thinking of ur next pathetic tweet.
— Rafael Douglas (@rafdouglas) July 1, 2020
Some women say that they were required to wear a mask the entire time they were in the hospital, even when they were sleeping at night. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended splitting up mothers and babies for up to two weeks in order to help isolate newborns from the threat of COVID-19 transmission.