Audio Version Available
The past year has been a big change. Like many Singaporeans, I’ve learned to live with Covid as long as we have our loved ones with us. But unlike many Singaporeans, I’ve had to learn to live with Covid as a mum-to-be.
Things that many Singaporeans take for granted, like vaccinations, have been less straightforward for me as I wanted to be sure about it before taking the jab as I was responsible for two lives.
Even though there is much research done on the subject, there have been even more opinions about it. Many people take the jab. Some don’t, for a variety of reasons from health concerns to personal beliefs. Ultimately, I realised no one could make the decision for me — I needed to own my choice, and take responsibility for it.
I will be taking my second jab soon.
My Covid journey with my husband has mirrored our Covid journey as a nation — with all its ups and downs.
It is a journey filled with long periods of mundanity punctuated by little nuggets of joy.
We entertained ourselves singing karaoke at home (hopefully our neighbours didn’t suffer too much!), binge-watching dramas and even watering our plants.
Meals were quick excursions to our nearby hawker centre or kopitiam (since I wasn’t vaccinated till recently) or my hubby would dabao something for me. We learnt to be thankful for being able to indulge in simple pleasures in the short weekends that we had.
Being fully vaccinated meant that we could dine-in at restaurants again but then right now Singapore’s Covid cases have gone up and new measures have clamped down.
Learning to live with the endemic pandemic
How do you feel every time Singapore’s sliding scale of responses slides back to more stringent territory again?
As Covid becomes endemic, managing our emotions is just as critical as managing the virus in our community. I read a recent report by Straits Times where two-thirds of Singaporeans surveyed believe it is unrealistic for Covid-19 restrictions to go on indefinitely.
“I forgot I needed friends,” said one of my colleagues as we chatted about the lack of social interaction in the office (over Whatsapp, of course) in the almost two years of Covid-induced WFH measures.
People have been going to social media to complain about government measures, and friends and family have groused about how they can’t do many things now.
Yes, I listen and nod but mostly I choose to stay calm and be comforted that we are all learning to live with the endemic.
My husband and I are lucky to be still able to provide for ourselves, as well as prepare for our baby.
But inevitably, all of us need to learn to find a way to live with an endemic Covid. Just like how Finance Minister Lawrence Wong says that Singapore is ramping up measures to deal with the situation if ever we hit 5,000 or even more daily cases.
I have learnt to adapt and accept this new norm: I am not surprised by bad news any more. Covid isn’t going to go away but life must go on.
Am I being unrealistic and brushing off feelings that aren’t positive? I’ve had a friend and a colleague ask me about this when I was talking about being positive amid a tough situation.
This is what I said: It is inevitable that we will battle feelings of dread. The fact remains that since Covid happened, there have been many changes in our lives, with more to come.
We are more restricted in how we live our lives than before.
I’m not saying to ignore these feelings. To do so, and to pretend that everything is great, is to fall into toxic positivity and that’s not good for our mental health.
What I’m saying is this: We’re not in denial if we recognise our negative feelings, then choose to deal with them through a positive lens.
This is much easier said than done, of course, but this goes back to my personal conviction to make the best of every situation.
Make the best of what we have
Last weekend, I packed my wardrobe.
I am now in my second trimester of pregnancy and going into my third, so it was time for me to put away all the clothes that I can no longer fit into storage.
Doing this over the weekend gave me some peace.
As I KondoMari-ed my belongings, I also took the time to unpack and repack my thoughts.
We all have control over how we respond to events in our lives so let’s choose how we take charge of it.
For now, I am focusing on looking forward to my bundle of joy joining our family. It helps if we can zoom in on what is in the present for us and then create joy from it.
This is how I want to welcome my baby into the world.