We’d planned for a home birth, even before lockdown, but it wasn’t to be and I ended up in hospital for 24 hours mostly on my own, with my husband only able to join me for the actual birth before having to leave me and ‘Bubba’. Once we got home, we were able to spend about 10 weeks with just us three before meeting with the rest of the family. Obviously, there was a lot of pressure from the grandparents to meet the little one and the guidance was confusing coming out of lockdown with family bubbles and what rules to follow.
We hadn’t planned on conceiving as soon as we did, and it was a scary time when we first started hearing about the virus: the escalation, the infection rate, hospitals closing, being told I was high risk in my third trimester. But there were lots of positives, my husband and I got to spend lots of quality time together, exercising and cooking healthy food. We were missing our jobs as restaurant managers, being sociable and always around people. And it was disheartening being so limited in what we could do for others; for our community.
We had a scare when my temperature was up, and I was breastfeeding, and the baby had a cough. Your mind goes crazy; we opted for a test, but the swab didn’t fit up the baby’s nostrils! We did a test on us too and we all came back negative which gave us reassurance, but it seemed strange that the test centre didn’t seem prepared for testing babies and weren’t even sure what advice to give.
I’ve found a lot of support online from forums and Peanut – a kind of Tinder for new mums. All the mums are in the same boat and it felt important to start up conversations online. I’ve also taken part in NCT courses via video calls, trying to build relationships for the future. It’s been surreal and bizarre meeting people over Zoom but brilliant too. We’ve even been able to meet up in parks since.
I’m dreading a further lockdown, not being able to go to parks, meet other mums, join swim groups, introduce the little ones to each other. We’ve had to amend holidays and other things we’ve taken for granted. I worry about children not being able to socialise when they’re older and more aware, I worry about their mental development and the effect all this will have on them.
We’re facing our first Christmas with Bubba and we don’t know if we’ll be with or without family. My sister is pregnant and due to give birth soon and I can see history repeating itself. My advice to my sister and other pregnant mums to be: don’t let yourself feel lonely, rely on your community and just reach out.