Nelli Antepli, Calgary AB

COVID Across Canada: Short Takes

November 16, 2020

Life That Prevails


Nelli Antepli


Chilly air surrounds my booked operation room. I slowly breathe in and breathe out through a blue mask. This is a new protocol for a C-section operation in Covid-stricken reality.

While looking at the ceiling, I gather my thoughts and notice that I am processing my emotions on a conscious level. Seven years ago, my first pregnancy left me with a birth trauma from post-op pain. This time I am ready for any pain, as long as my daughter can be delivered healthy and sound in this unprecedented pandemic time.

This pregnancy has been painted with colours of isolation and solitude. I have done all my ultrasound meetings with the baby without my family by my side. In our family archive, we keep all the video recordings made of our doctor visits from my first pregnancy and when my son was born.

This time he begged to accompany me to the clinic to see the baby on the screen. I could only remind him that this is not allowed for now. I described as vividly as I could my observations and my feelings about the baby.


“While looking at the ceiling, I gather my thoughts and notice that I am processing my emotions on a conscious level.”


Now, in a swarm of muffled doctors’ voices, my daughter’s crying pierces the air. Doctors show me her swollen beautiful face above the drapes and offer their congratulations. I finally breathe with relief. We will be forever grateful to the heroes of this pandemic–doctors, frontline workers, and medical staff for being there for us and for not leaving us alone in isolation and pain. Life prevails over Covid due to their daily efforts and courage.

Nelli Antepli is originally from Kyrgyzstan. She worked as an educator in Cambodia before coming to Canada as a refugee in 2018. She recently completed her M.A. degree in Education. Through organizations like The Fig Tree Foundation, she shares her passion for international development projects.


Art by Emily Honderich


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.