My plans to deviate from the pandemic were stopped short and quick. I got many requests this week to write about the uncertainties and anxieties surrounding the days to follow. Another concern that many people have right now is about how life will be after the restrictions worldwide are lifted.
For this discussion, I am not going to use any scientific data. There are a few reasons for this. The first one is that there is not much data available on a pandemic of this scale and its fallout on human life. Secondly, I think many readers are looking for some solace in this time. Science still doesn’t have the answers to provide relief. Thirdly, I have some personal opinions that might be better accepted by my anxious readers. So let us begin.
I want to put things into perspective first. Let us go over some of the significant events that have taken place worldwide since the beginning of 2019.
Tensions escalated between Pakistan and India after Pakistan captured an Indian Air Force Captain amid a showdown between the two countries air forces. There was real fear of a nuclear war in the region.
The Amazon was ravaged by wildfires unlike anything even seen before.
Brexit happened when the UK left the European Union affecting trade and relations that had taken years to build.
Tensions escalated in the Gulf between US and Iran leading to Iran shooting down a passenger aircraft killing many innocent people. For the second time in 2019, there was a fear of nuclear war in this region.
Australia witnessed some of its worst bush fires destroying some species forever along with their natural habitat.
At the end of 2019, news of a new strain of Coronavirus broke out leading to a global pandemic.
This is where we stand currently. If you look at the events of the last 12 months alone, you will see that we should have seen this coming. The world was on edge. There was no control over anything. The earth was suffering and the species that inhabit it were suffering.
There is a balance in Nature that has to be maintained at all costs. And we were destroying that balance. This is probably Mother Nature’s way of telling us to slow down and not take her for granted. For the first time in years, other species on the planet are flourishing. The Earth is still and quiet. Pollution levels have dropped.
Now I am not saying that what is happening to mankind is good. I see the plight of people who have no jobs or money or places to live. I see people who are away from their families and have no certain answers for the future. But you see, this is where that balance comes in. There will be suffering before there is respite again. The fittest will survive and the rest will struggle. This is the natural selection Charles Darwin first spoke about in his Theory of Evolution. This is the way things have always been. We just haven’t seen it before. This virus has been the great "equalizer" the world needed. It does not infect you after examining your bank account, religion, caste, race, sex or sexual preference. It just infects.
The new “normal” might look different after this. I have been asked many a times what I think life will be like and what sort of scars this will leave behind. For one, I think social distancing will be necessary till there is a vaccine available. Two, there isn’t going to be a consumerist market anytime soon. So people aren’t going to be flying off on 3 vacations a year or buying all the luxury they can afford. There will be a paced return to that life. But it will return at some point. Three, people will be scared to go out and cities won’t be as crowded and bustling for a while. Many will learn to work and go back home rather than going out for a drink. Wearing masks in public will be mandatory or at least, most will prefer the little extra safety of it.
The virus will still make its way through the population but if we do things right, we will slow down its effect so our health care is not over whelmed. Life will go on to slowly inch its way to a new found stability. But this will take its toll. People will lose jobs and lives. Its not going to be an easy return. Markets will crash and many once flourishing industries, will be forgotten. It will be a return to basic survival at first. But as a new day comes after every storm, so will there be a new sunrise after this darkness.
However, accepting this fate is the first step to start rebuilding a future. Without acceptance, a human being will always remain in sadness and grief. The grief will lead to anger, which will destroy productivity. And a time like this, we all need to be productive. So to accept what is happening is the first step in healing.
Those who are at high risk of infection and those who struggle with mental and physical illnesses must not take this path lightly. It is important that acceptance comes with a realisation of protecting those that are vulnerable. The high-risk people need to stay home and look after themselves the best they can. The rest of us have to move on and start to think about rebuilding a life after Covid19, while maintaining distance from the high-risk categories.
One of my favourite movies’ of all time is Interstellar, but not because of its surreal effects or its science. I like it because of the underlying message it conveys. The movie is less about space travel and more about something Albert Einstein said when he wrote the Theory of Relativity. He said that there is one force of Nature that science hasn’t been able to understand and may probably never understand. He said that force is Love. Love has the power to transcend space and time and live on infinitely.
The movie also spoke of Murphy’s Law: What can happen will happen. What can go wrong will go wrong. But what can go right will go right.
This leads us to two conclusions to deal with this pandemic on a personal level.
That’s it from me for tonight. Take care, stay home and stay safe.
In the second part of my blog on the current pandemic and risk of Postpartum Depression (PPD), I want to discuss some of the risk factors, especially for Indian women and what they can do to reduce their distress and the risk of postpartum depression.
To recap the last part, let us just go over some of the points I made. First of all, postpartum depression is more severe and longer lasting than normal “baby blues.”
Secondly, rates in India are very high at 22% of births compared to a global estimate of 12%. The rates are higher in the urban cities of India than in rural villages.
Thirdly, women are at increased risk for postpartum depression due to this current pandemic. Having a negative experience during pregnancy is one of the key risk factors of developing PPD after the birth.
The subject I am going to write about today demands attention and it is so vast, that I cannot write everything I know in one post. So for my readers to have an easier time in reading it, I will divide it into parts.
In the first part, I just want to introduce my readers to the idea of Postpartum Depression (PPD) and how it affects mothers. The second part will focus on the increased risk of PPD for mothers who are expecting now during a pandemic and what they can do to minimise their distress.