Stigma: The Covid ‘Baby’

When most of us were panic buying for supplies to help us cope with the lockdown and other instant restrictions, we forgot to consult with our doctors on our family planning options and didn’t consider stocking up on contraceptives. It fills us with guilt to think that the warnings from religious and other concerned leaders against not making the mistake to have unplanned pregnancies might have come a little too late. None of us foresaw the current situation, its effects and the last thing we imagined was what we were going to do with the abundant sudden closeness with our partners and how best to spend endless hours, days, weeks and months with barely anything to occupy us.

Babies considered to be born during the Covid season (think at the start of the pandemic, during the pandemic and some months after the pandemic) may be conveniently labelled “Covid Babies”. But while it sounds catchy, funny, and maybe practical, it is very harsh, cruel and stigmatizing of any of us to refer to any one born during this time as a “Covid Baby”.

The pandemic has destroyed so many lives, crushed so many families, traumatized a great deal of people everywhere, and brought so much pain and wounds that will take years, if not decades for many to heal from. Labeling anyone as a “Covid baby” is similar to labeling someone as an “HIV baby”, “Cancer baby” and any other deadly diseases or epidemics the world has suffered. No one ever refers to people or children born during those times after the name of the disease in question, and as harsh and unnecessary as it was back then, so it is now. We can’t damn any child with ignorant labels such as “Covid baby” the same way we can’t go around calling anyone an HIV/ Cancer baby. Should you find yourself tempted to label anyone this way then try to imagine if you were born of parents battling HIV or Cancer and people around you ‘unapologetically’ found it funny to go around calling you an “HIV baby” or “Cancer baby”;- how would that make you feel?

Families must carry on with their lives and while many may not have planned to have a baby during such an unfortunate time, some families and couples have found it convenient to use this time to start a family and we are in no position to criticize their decisions. If we put on hold every crucial aspect of our lives each time a calamity or some other unfortunate event happened then don’t you think the world would be paralysed with endless fear and we probably wouldn’t be able to accomplish so much advancement? Couples in this situation should be supported in healthy and positive ways if they happen to be expecting a child during this time or planning on it.

Babies born during the Covid season, are as special, innocent and beautiful like those born during other times. They deserve our love and acceptance and so do their parents. Let us celebrate each other without insensitive labels and no bullying.