Despite her concerns about the Zika virus, newlywed Michelle Bong Lejtenyi is not letting it derail her plans for motherhood.

I’ve been trying, on and off, to have a baby for the past few months. Work and wedding planning has been taken up the bulk of my energy since January, so I haven’t really been doing much except tracking my ovulation periods and doing the horizontal mambo. Since my gynaecologist put me on pregnancy-facilitating drugs Clomid and Duphaston in May this year, I also see her regularly.

And now, having been married for a grand total of 11 days, baby-making has become my favourite sport. Ovulating or otherwise, the bedroom lights are going out a lot earlier these days. I’d hope to be pregnant by year end, which has been my grand plan from the start. I embrace the carpe diem spirit too much to let a few Zika virus-carrying mozzies stand in my way.

No, that’s not fighting talk. I know there is cause for concern. The number of people being tested positive for the virus has been growing, while insect repellent is enjoying virtually no shelf-time in stores. There is no cure as yet, and should I be bitten, I am aware that my child would be at risk of the serious birth defect microcephaly.

I see little wisdom in waiting out the Zika outbreak, because frankly, no one knows how long the virus is here to stay.”

My pregnant younger sister Monica is also taking things in her stride. Currently six months pregnant, she was initially alarmed when news broke about the first pregnant woman who was tested positive for Zika. “I was worried and then scared, especially since this is my third pregnancy but first child.” Her immediate course of action was to stock up on mosquito patches and insect repellent, in addition to wearing long sleeves and trousers to work. Monica is also staying home more often, and is more diligent about making sure that her home is mozzie-free.

“I’m not taking chances,” she shrugs, “because on a worry scale of one to five, I’m a 10! I’m just glad my area has been fogged, and the Ministry of Health is keeping us informed. At the end of the day, no one control mosquitoes and their activities. We can only stay diligent. Whenever my husband and I come across a pharmacy or supermarkets, we end up leaving with fresh supplies of lotions, mosquito coils and electric repellent for the bedroom!”

As for me, I see little wisdom in waiting out the Zika outbreak, because frankly, no one knows how long the virus is here to stay, and when it will actually be fully eradicated from our little island, if at all.

Neither do I see the point of putting my plans on hold because of a “what if” situation. So, my approach is to be vigilant, by making sure I take precautions such as limiting my time outdoors and spraying thoroughly with insect repellent before I leave the house.

In the same way, the Zika virus ― yes, it will spread worldwide in a matter of months ― is not going to stop me from enjoying my precious leisure hours. I have confirmed several short- and long-haul trips in the next 12 months, and my social calendar is filled with appointments for outdoor sports activities and open-air concerts. Life’s too short for me to stay home and cower in fear!

Michelle Bong Lejtenyi, 42, is ELLE Singapore’s features & lifestyle editor.

Photo: iStock

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