The lockdown and social distancing rules have changed the way we go about our day to day business, but for a demographic of women in our community, this time can induce more fear and uncertainty than most will experience. Pregnancy and childbirth in Forbes can be uncertain on an average day, with resources, staff and facilities stretched to accommodate women in Forbes and surrounding towns. It is not uncommon for women with high-risk pregnancies to be sent to Dubbo and Orange to give birth.
Now women face the additional challenges of giving birth during a pandemic. Birthing in lockdown has been met with both confusion and praise. Praise for the exceptional work that the midwives, staff and Obstetricians at Forbes Hospital do, and the care they provide to women during their most vulnerable time. There is also confusion surrounding the rules once women return home. While in hospital, the rules are clear, no visitors except for one support person. However, upon returning home, one Forbes mother of two found herself stuck.
Recovering from a Caesarean delivery with a one-year-old at home and a partner who works away for days at a time, Forbes woman Umima Austral found herself confused and concerned. Relying on family for care and assistance meant she needed visitors in her home, “Are they (the police) going to come and knock on my door be- cause there are four cars parked at my house?” she wondered.
Many have criticised both a lack of transparency and enforcement around lockdown rules and as it stands, seems to be a learning experience for both the public and law enforcement. In the coming weeks and months, we should see a rhythm take place and a sense of normality gained as the Forbes community adjusts to life in lockdown.