Having a newborn baby in lockdown is different - but wonderful
I was lucky enough to give birth to a beautiful baby girl in mid March, six days before lockdown. I’d never want to change this for a second...the jury is still out on the timing however.
I was congratulated at the time, often with the comment “and what great timing, you can stay at home and not have to worry about going to work through this pandemic”. It’s a comment I got used to but it was a slap in the face every time I heard it. It became a time for people to start comparing how ‘bad’ their own personal situation was with how great they thought mine was... but everyone in the country was going through their own hell, it wasn’t a time for comparison. While I was grateful for our precious gift, I was not prepared for the additional stress to new motherhood this pandemic brought and while I listened to comments like “it’s good, she’s too young to remember this”, “at least you don’t have to work”, “at least you don’t have to home school”, I felt cheated. I felt a loss of the experience I should have been enjoying.
Only yesterday a nurse said to me “it should be the best time of your entire life, I’m so sorry”.
She is one of the few that considered things differently. Talking to her (with our face masks and hidden smiles) for the brief time while she took my bloods, she listened... she listened to when I told her about the first few days, how stressed I was about the virus that it caused my body to not produce enough milk, about when the shelves had been stripped bare of formula and nappies and I was half a day away from having no way to keep my baby fed and clean at only six days old.
How I was too scared to leave the house as my health was so vulnerable but I couldn’t get a food delivery for three weeks.
How my husband’s three month work diary was cancelled within a day. How I cried myself to sleep for a week because I couldn’t allow her grandparents to visit, have cuddles or introduce her to family and friends.
How baby yoga and her new born photo shoot were out of the question. How other than the doctors and hospital my baby had never been in another building at four months old and has had more cuddles off nurses than family. How I worry of potential development issues because of our isolation... How, until recently, she has never seen a visitor in our home or seen inside her grandparents’ house. And how I waited 116 days to register her birth.
But then I told her not to be sorry, because although it has been difficult and different and heartbreaking, it’s been wonderful.
Wonderful to know I have amazing friends who put their own health at risk to leave nappies and food at our front door without even having to ask. Wonderful to have been able to selfishly adore the cuddles with my baby in the first weeks, not having to share them.
Wonderful to have my husband at home with me for the first six weeks and share some of the ‘firsts’ together.
Wonderful to not have to get out of bed, get dressed, do my hair or put makeup on when I was tired... as there wouldn’t be any visitors today, tomorrow or next week and there was nowhere to be other than here. In the moment.
Wonderful but different.So while I again contemplate on the experiences we missed out on, I have to be grateful for the ones we received in return. So to all the lockdown mums out there, I salute you.
We have a unique experience to treasure...and a story to tell our 2020 lockdown babies.