If they can do it, so can everyone.
The coronavirus pandemic isn't showing signs of slowing down just yet, with new hot spots now popping up across the U.S., Health experts agree that there's an easy way for Americans to help stop the spread, and yet the idea of wearing a mask has become a hot-button issue.
We've seen video after video of beleaguered retail workers confronting customers who won't abide by mask rules, and complaint after complaint about how inconvenient or annoying it is to have to don a face covering to go about your day.
But if spending a few minutes in a grocery store in a mask feels like too much to ask for some people... how about giving birth to an actual human child or supporting your partner during labor?
Many hospitals across the country are now requiring partners and even laboring moms to wear masks while giving birth. If a woman in the midst of what can be one of the most painful, physically grueling experiences ever can wear a masks for hours and hours at a time, can't we all?
Mom Kristen Theriault shared her experience of a whopping 33 hour labor in a mask, and her annoyance about those who complain covering their faces.
Moms Sarah Richard and Melissa Fairbanks spent two days in the hospital welcoming their baby girl after an IVF journey.
"I had to wear a mask the whole time, and my wife did the majority of the time she was in labor. Our daughter was born at 41 weeks and 1 day, we had a scheduled induction for 41 weeks and 3 days. Because the induction was a scheduled procedure, my wife (Sarah) was required to have a Covid test to ensure she was negative," Fairbanks tells Motherly.
She continues, "Our daughter came two days before the induction. Sarah pushed for 3 and a half hours. So thankfully, and probably because she had the COVID test a day prior, the doctors and nurses allowed her to take the mask off at the end of pushing as she was exhausted and needed and needed to be able to take those deep breaths."
Once labor was over, both mamas had to keep their masks on unless they were eating.
Mom Shazma Palliagath can relate, tweeting: "I need a shirt that says 'I gave birth wearing a mask. Where is yours?' for anytime I enter a store in #Florida." Her home state has emerged as the new epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S., yet politicians there can't agree on a mask strategy according to the Tampa Bay Times. While some local lawmakers there have ordered mask usage, others have actively spoken out against them.
She tells Motherly: "It's just really disappointing when you're trying your best to slow the spread of the virus, especially at such an special and intimate time as giving birth, and people don't have the courtesy to do the same when they are on a 10 minute grocery run."
I need a shirt that says “I gave birth wearing a mask. Where is yours?” for anytime I enter a store in #Florida.— Shazma Save🇵🇸 (@Shazma Save🇵🇸)1593193715.0
The current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) call for face coverings to be worn in public and in any situation where people can't maintain social distancing. The CDC says they can help prevent sick people (including those who don't even realize they're infected, or are asymptomatic) from spreading COVID-19 to others. But there's an important caveat: "face coverings are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings."
Research bears that out—a model from the University of Washington predicts the U.S. death toll will hit 180,000 by October, but that about 33,000 of those deaths could be prevented if 95% of the country would wear masks.
Though there have been conspiracy theories flying around about masks lowering your oxygen levels or leading to carbon dioxide poisoning, those claims have been repeatedly debunked. If pregnant women have proved that wearing a mask during intense physical exertion is totally fine, what excuse does anyone else really have here, when lives are literally on the line? They do it to protect themselves, their babies, all the doctors and nurses in the delivery room, and every other patient in the hospital.
It's a small act with a much larger meaning, and everyone should be following these moms' lead.
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