Having a baby & maternity leave in lockdown
This week in the academy we have a fab Q&A with a new Mum and the trials and tribulations that have overcome through the lockdown.
First of all how are you and your baby?
We are doing okay, thank you! I'm back to work now and Little One is thriving! He's just shy of 11 months old now.
What was it like having a baby through lockdown?
What was it like...gosh that's been a question I've been asked so many times. Hard, emotional yet rewarding at the same time. My husband wasn't allowed in with me until we had established labour (I was induced) but we ended up having a C section so he was with me for much longer. But not being able to see anyone or let him meet anyone was really hard, we also had a lot of other things going on in our lives so it really took its toll on us mentally and physically.
Do you feel you or your child have missed out on anything?
100%!!! Baby groups didn't open until much later in the year, which we did manage to get too. I've had quite a few friends have babies in 2020 so we've really bonded over that which has helped. He's missed out on meeting so many people although you wouldn't think he was a pandemic baby considering how smiley he is with strangers. However, the support we've had from our GP and Health Visitor has been absolutely amazing! The NHS have worked so hard (they always do but especially in the last year) and they've answered all my queries.
Did it affect your partner's involvement through the pregnancy? How did it make you feel?
My husband was furloughed from the day we went into lockdown and didn't return until 6th June. He's been an absolute godsend!! If he had to have gone back to work after 2 weeks, which is the standard paternal leave, I wouldn't have coped. In all honesty, we would have to have broken lock down rules as I couldn't lift my baby for 3 weeks. He's working long hours at the minute but is pretty hands on on his days off. Luckily, little one has slept through from a young age but he used to do the night feeds. We decided to bottle feed because of the recovery.
What were your concerns before having the baby in lockdown?
My concerns at the time were "how will I get my baby home from the hospital?" Because we just picked our travel system up the day we went into lockdown. People were stock piling formula so "how am I going to feed my baby?" As breastfeeding doesn't always work for everyone. I was sat here sobbing night after night. Baby wasn't due until 23rd April but on 31st March, we were told we were being induced as they thought my placenta had stopped working. All I could think of was "I thought we'd have more time". Back then, as I said before, your birth partners were not allowed in with you so I was worrying "what if he didn't make it in time?" COVID testing wasn't around then so I suppose the thought of catching it was a high concern but the maternity unit was separate and the staff were just fantastic!
In hindsight how do you feel about the concerns you had before?
Looking back, I know I was being silly especially about how to get him home or feeding him but as a first time mum, you don't know what to expect! But just leading up to lockdown is when all my anxiety started.
Did you come up with any coping strategies?
I have found writing things down in a diary have helped but I was borderline PND so my health visitor recommended I had some counselling which has resulted in CBT and that is still going on. I have found talking about it openly has helped therefore, my family, friends and anyone who knows me, knows that I am suffering but I am ok.
Could you offer any advice to those going through it now?
You're not alone. Talk to people. If you feel like you can't cope, talk to your health visitor or GP. If you have a child under one, you tend to be prioritised. Don't think of yourself as being silly and my god, if you have to break any lockdown rules, break them! At the end of the day, you have to do what is right for you and your family.
Thank you so much for being so open and honest, I know your vulnerability will help a lot of other people and will be of great help to those going through it all now. We wish you and your family all the best from the Happy Thoughts Academy.