By: Daniella Molina
The babies born during the COVID-19 pandemic are not COVID babies. 2020 will forever be etched in history as the year when things changed. Under all the uncertainty there were women who had to face the new reality and vulnerability of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. However, in no way is it okay to call a child that was born in 2020–2021 anything negative just because of the year they were born.
In all the chaos there were still positive aspects and amazing things that happened throughout 2020. Being born is a pretty good thing to happen for anybody. It was not the “worst year ever” for everyone.
It was a pretty good year for those babies born into the world. If anything, those who were born during such a time should be considered extraordinary in contrast with all the lives lost to COVID-19 .
In 1918, the Spanish flu left millions of people bed ridden and millions of people dead. However, those born during the Spanish Flu pandemic are not deemed flu babies. Those individuals who were born during the 1918 pandemic, that were still alive when COVID-19 hit, were about 104 years old.
As more of these centennial gems came forward they were not portrayed as the unfortunate individuals born in a horrible year, but rather as beams of hope, proof that the human race could make it through a terrifying, deadly illness.
To negatively label children that were born during the COVID-19 pandemic and during the height of racial inequality, is some sort of weird inside-out discrimination. It’s demeaning to those children and the parents who had no control over the timing of their births.
COVID-19 does not negotiate over who it will take or when. Nor is there anything parents can do to delay the birth of their child. Being born is quite the ultimate accomplishment for a human. Even under the circumstances, some of the best days in people’s lives took place in 2020.
Couples still got married, some people got to stay home with their loved ones, and babies were born. Bringing a healthy baby into the world should not be downplayed or tied maliciously to a title of a deadly disease.
Obviously, the babies born during the pandemic were not conceived through insemination with the COVID-19 virus. COVID-19 was practically unknown to the world when some of these babies were conceived. They were not born immune to the virus and just as susceptible to contracting COVID-19 as any other human.
It was the mothers who were more at risk while pregnant due to a compromised immune system. Childbirth in general is nerve wracking without the additional risk of an airborne disease.
The government deployed two hospital battleships. Mercy and the USNS. These were the comforts to assist with hospital overflow. However, the battleships were not equipped to handle labor and delivery situations. They forced women back to the options of hospitals or extremely expensive birthing centers.
The amount of stress and anxiety can easily prove too much to handle for anybody. Especially for expecting parents watching daily news updates of hospitals being at capacity with positive Covid-19 cases rising rapidly. A new level of bravery was required from expecting mothers, their partners and the medical staff. All had to risk their own life in order for a new life to be born.
Being affected by COVID-19 in any way is hard enough and then having people call a newborn out of their name shows lack of consideration.
Women were shuffled into delivery rooms and faced with the new challenges of taking deep breaths while wearing a mask. Due to new policies, a mask must stay on the entire time a patient is in the hospital. No family and friends are allowed to visit, and there are food limitations because hospital cafeterias are closed for precautions.
The duty of labor is a hard one. The serotonin kicks in and epidurals wear off. Women run on very little sleep while being told to sign a stack of documents to establish a new baby’s identity. It is a lengthy process that people may overlook, but it is especially important. A name is forever, and there is so that much that goes into naming a person.
So, what do you call babies born during COVID-19 ? Well, it’s very simple. Call them by their names, the names that were given to them by their parents.
To refer to a child by anything less, especially a deadly disease, is disrespectful unless the parents are okay with their baby being called a virus. Respect a child by referring them by their given name, not the name of a horrendous disease.