Pandemic pregnancy from London to Melbourne

Mum Radhika and her daughter Aneeka. Picture: Rob Carew

By Melissa Meehan

Being pregnant during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns is tough.

But imagine being stranded on the other side of the world, numerous flights cancelled and only two weeks before you’re legally allowed to fly.

This was a reality for Camberwell mum Radhika Sahu and her husband Utkarsh.

The pair were living in London when Radhika was first pregnant and lived there for seven-and-a-half months of her pregnancy.

It was during the height of the pandemic in the UK – all retail and services were closed.

“It’s safe to say we did a lot of walking, discovering London on foot,” Radhika said.

But while seeing London from a different view was exciting, the reality of the pandemic coming to an end sooner than later seemed like an impossible dream.

It seemed unlikely they would be able to travel home with the new baby or have family come visit.

“Thankfully we had flights booked through my husband’s work, but despite that we had five cancellations before we were able to board a flight home,” she said.

“If we were cancelled once more, I doubt we would have been able to come home. I was two weeks away from not being able to fly while pregnant.”

So the couple flew to Brisbane where they completed their two week quarantine and then to Melbourne.

“There was definitely tears when we landed, we thought thank God we made it,” she said.

From there they had seven weeks to find somewhere to live and buy all of the baby necessities.

Luckily for them, the shops were open during that time.

Baby Aneeka was born on 8 February 2021. Melbourne went into a snap lockdown just one day later.

Thankfully the lockdown only lasted five days, and Radhika and Aneeka were able to connect with other mums and bubs through their local mothers group a few times before the longer lockdown of 2021.

“I have the most amazing mum’s group, I am so thankful for them,” she said.

She said being able to meet face-to-face allowed them to bond before they were forced to connect virtually.

And while her pregnancy wasn’t exactly what was expected, being able to live in the same city as her family (pandemic or not) gave Radhika some perspective on the issue.

“We are just so thankful to be back in Melbourne. That was our priority and looking at the bigger picture, I’m just so happy to be in the same city as my family,” she said.

“Sure there are things we would have loved to do, including getting some more travel in or being a little bit more prepared in terms of shopping – but we are just so glad that we got back home.”