In 3.5 hours I will be a father, the corona pandemic is raging around me. The second contribution from our new Papa column by Georg Jung-Zsifkovits.
I almost forgot this feeling like one crisis feels. When the drama flickers across the screens, our prospects become bleak and our future seems to be in ashes. As a millennial, I should be used to going through adult life with this companion that has become a habit. Financial crisis, economic crisis, debt crisis, euro crisis, refugee crisis – in full media and political volume and without any reason for hope.
And now corona. But this time the crisis hits me differently, more directly, like everyone in Austria. The effects are more noticeable, the concerns more personal. Bringing a child into this state of emergency is at least unsettling, mostly scary.
Corona and the birth
If there is anything positive about this virus, it is that Pregnant women and children not directly to the risk group counting. There is no reason to sink into a swamp of worry, even if it has sometimes been difficult in the past few weeks. At least that’s what it is for me.
Many early parents are also struggling with measures to contain the virus. There have been public hospitals in Austria since the early days of the Corona Lockdown Visits prohibited. At the beginning, this also meant that fathers, partners were not allowed to be present when their children were born. A measure that I felt came up with surprisingly little criticism. Efforts to protect hospital staff are understandable. In this particular case, however, the result is probably the most violent and momentous cut in our freedoms that we have experienced since mid-March. Visits to inns, trips and birthday parties can be made up for, births not.
Once in and not out again
I personally was spared great luck. Before SARS-CoV-2 found its first victims in China, my wife and I decided to go to a private clinic. Fathers were never excluded from birth there.
As is well known, fathers are now allowed to be there for their families in public hospitals during childbirth. The general Visiting ban – and this also applies to fathers and the days after a birth – is still upright, at least in Styria. But again I can count myself lucky. I will be able to spend the whole week in a family room with my wife and daughter.
If I leave the building during my stay, I am definitely out and I am no longer allowed in, since a visit is also prohibited here. As long as I stay in there, no problem. This is an incredible relief in this situation and will be an exciting first experience with our child regardless of everyone.
In Lower Austria, fathers, mothers and children are now allowed to take birth visit again. Hopefully the other federal states will soon follow suit.
The infinity of life
It may only be a few hours until my daughter is born, but even after nine months I am not fascinated by the idea that a completely new life is approaching us here, at the very beginning of an unknown future. You can never realize this state for yourself, neither will my daughter. But I see this first, as yet unwritten, page of a book that she will write.
It is the feeling that also comes to me when I try to imagine the infinity of the universe in the last semi-conscious moments before falling asleep. Always on and never in the end.
No, my daughter won’t be a Corona baby. It should not go through life from crisis to crisis. Because of me Jumping Jack Flash become her favorite song, Mick Jaggers Organ someday call the lines out of her teenage room: “I was born in a cross-fire hurricane. And I howled at the morning driving rain“. But then the words will follow: “But it’s all right now.”
3.5 hours until birth
So here we are, at the entrance to the maternity hospital. A security approached us, asked us to fill out a form and held a thermometer to our forehead. First my wife, then me: “We have a problem there, 37.3.“
Next time: the birth and its consequences.
The contribution Daddy F. Beginners: Mick Jagger and (no) a corona baby first appeared on Lining.