Becoming a father can be a stressful experience for most men. Owing to the Covid-19 Pandemic and the uncertainty it brings with it, the change seems even more overwhelming. From visits to the doctor, procuring essentials and being extra cautious about hygiene at home as well as outside, both mothers and fathers have a lot to deal with right now. However, the work-from-home regime induced by the pandemic has proved to be a boon for most newbie dads. The unexpected joys of spending more time with the babies as well as their active participation in bringing them up is a welcome change for both fathers as well as mothers. We spoke to some men from the Pink City about their experiences of becoming a father in the pandemic.
Ensuring Safety is the Biggest Challenge
For Ayush Periwal, who became a father right in the midst of the first wave of the pandemic, the greatest fear was ensuring the safety of his wife and child. “Every house needs that one Covid paranoid individual to ensure strict measures are being followed. The onus is on the father to prevent family members from getting swayed by the social temptations that come with pregnancy such as in-person baby showers, maternity shoots etc.”, says Ayush.
Father to a 2-year-old son, Vikram Pratap Singh became a dad for the second time in this pandemic. In addition to ensuring the safety of his wife and newly born daughter during hospital visits, he was also concerned about exposing his older child to the virus on returning home. “We had to be extremely vigilant at home – whether it was sanitizing products coming from outside or ensuring the hygiene of the house help. I made sure to not step outside the home unnecessarily and tried to do my work online as much as possible. In cases where I had to step out of the house, I always wore a mask and shield”, tells Vikram.
Visiting the doctor was a hassle
Visiting the doctor for regular check-ups was a big hassle for most to-be parents. “Regular visits to doctor and radiologist had to be planned with PPE kits, masks, gloves, sanitizers, disinfectants etc and there was fear because most hospitals and labs were catering to Covid patients also”, shares Aditya Vyas, a first-time dad.
Similarly, it was a nightmarish experience for Vikas Gehlot and his wife when their consulting gynecologist contracted the virus herself. “I was not allowed to be in the doctor’s office for consultations owing to safety protocols. Things got worse when our doctor got Covid-19 herself and we couldn’t meet her. Owing to the fear of the spreading virus, our daughter was delivered three weeks earlier than the scheduled date”, tells Vikas.
Work from Home is a Boon
The Work from Home has surely been the biggest perk of fatherhood for those men who became dads in the pandemic. “It seems like the best decision to have a baby at this time, because both parents can devote a lot of time to the infant”, tells Aditya. “Earlier the entire day was spent on my work desk. Now I use my lunch breaks and tea breaks to cuddle with my toddler”, he further adds.
“Sneaking in stolen moments to see my son laugh, roll around and cuddle, in between online meetings and webinars was the biggest treat. I have been around for all his milestones and witnessed them firsthand”, elaborates Ayush.
Apart from spending quality time with the child, the pandemic also gave men the opportunity to pamper their wives. “My wife conceived when the first lockdown was announced last year. This gave me a chance to spend a lot of time with her during the pregnancy. After we had our daughter in December, I have been enjoying being a part of her routine activities like giving her a bath and making her fall asleep. It gives my wife also some time for relaxation”, shares Vikas.
Exposure to the child is limited
The limitations on socializing and going out as well as restrictions on travel, however, are proving to be a hindrance in the way parents would like to bring up their child. “I had always thought of raising Zeyar by ensuring that right from birth, he is exposed to different people and places. But because of the pandemic, he has barely seen other kids or people other than our family. We had also wanted him to travel with us from an early age, because I firmly believe that the early years from age 0-6 is where the intellectual stimulation yields the greatest impact”, points out Ayush.
“I have not been able to provide the exposure to my children, the way I would have ideally wanted. Because of the situation, we have to limit ourselves to online modes of learning as well as entertainment”, adds Vikram.
Pandemic or not, fatherhood is indeed a one-of-its-kind experience that is as special as it is challenging for all men out there. It’s rightly said: “Not all heroes wear capes.”
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