70 days of isolation

It’s been 70 days since we went into isolation. 

There are 39 days until we get the keys to our new apartment.

89 days left of being pregnant, according to my app, Preglife. That one’s an approximation.

It’s been 11 days since I’ve gotten any work. A record since my business started picking up last year. Previously, it hasn’t been more than about three.

From a good, full-time income to absolutely nothing in a couple of short weeks, I’m another economic victim of this pandemic.

And it’s really boring.

70 days in and I’m losing steam on my “pandemic projects”. I’m running out of motivation to create, plan or imagine what could come next. 

I’m running out of new and exciting ways to entertain my toddler. I’ve learned my million-step sourdough recipe off by heart. I’ve pitched my writing for free, and failed to get a bite.

I’m incredibly lucky, but it’s bizarre being in quarantine while the rest of the country seems to be getting on with their lives.

The country’s official recommendations are still – in my personal, but very strong, opinion – desperately inadequate. 

Those who have been in contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19 are told not to let it affect their lives, as long as they’re not feeling sick.

Sharing a bed with a case? Feel free to go to work at an aged care facility, and don’t worry about wearing protective gear; we don’t know if masks really help anyway. Pay no attention to the almost 4,000 deaths in a country with a population of 9 million.

Pregnant? We’ve decided you’re at risk now, so look after yourselves, but your midwives don’t have to wear protective gear because… they have no symptoms. But your partner can’t stay in the hospital with you after the birth of your child, because imagine if he had it and spread it around.

I noticed, in Australia, the majority of my friends and family felt a degree of solidarity, given the same rules applied to most people. Sure, hairdressers stayed open for some reason but, in general, Australia stayed home. Friends had zoom parties and waved from balconies. 

Here, my little family are the bunch of weirdos in iso. Our friends and family understand it, because I’m pregnant, and we’ve made the decision to live with Felix’s grandmother – risk group. But there are no zoom parties.

“How’s life in the city?” I asked a friend, the other day.

“Pretty much normal,” he replied. “Maybe fewer people out in town at night.”

The tourism industry is whingeing that other European countries have a false idea of Sweden’s approach to the virus. Sweden has become the new China. The new Iran. “We’re” not welcome in certain countries due to the risk “we’d” be bringing with “us”.

“It’s not fair,” they say.

What’s not fair is the healthcare workers, already at breaking point, who most certainly will not be enjoying a holiday this summer, while the rest of the country bends the rules to visit small, seaside towns, sunbathing and slurring midsommar drinking songs.

The non-birthing parents of thousands of babies who sit at home while their partners look after newborns in the throes of post-partum trauma, even less able to get the healing rest and rehabilitation they need than usual.

The residents in Stockholm aged care facilities who die without treatment after staff are instructed to give palliative care, but not to call ambulances. “They’d die soon, anyway.”

I try not to dwell. It’s boring and enraging. But I’m tired, and I’m pregnant, and I’m sick of the gaslighting and misrepresentation and, actually, just this damn pandemic. 

I’m homesick, and I never, ever thought I’d say this, but I wish the Swedish government would take a page or two out of Australia’s playbook.

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Lily Ray
Lily Ray

Journalist, photographer, traveller and knitter. Mother to a small but demanding infant, Lily's life is messy but generally lovely. She has a lot of thoughts. Here is where she puts them.

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