It's a long one so get a cuppa or glass of wine and get comfy.
Who'd have thought we'd still be talking about this almost a year later?? Well, we are as although we are moving in the right direction with vaccines being rolled out and cases dropping, at the moment the situ is that partners have to leave pretty much immediately after the birth of their babies and any sort of mat leave is looking very different to the imagined coffee with friends, baby clubs, rose lunches and endless visits from friends and family.
I did a little update on Instagram following my most recent midwife appointment and asked you guys how it's been for you. The result? Some people have loved being able to hibernate in their little bubble with the perfect 'no visitors' excuse and some definitely feel like their precious moments leave has been stolen.
I naively/optimistically (delete as appropriate), thought that by the time our second is due to make an appearance - end of April/beginning of May, that there would be some normality and Dan would be able to be there in hospital after the birth for a bit but the midwife confirmed he'd be able to be there for the delivery (c-section) only and then have to leave. Now, thousands of you have done this already and I totally understand why they have to put these measures in place for everyone's safety including our own and our babies but it was still a shock for some reason. All of my IVF appointments and midwife appointments this time have been alone but this really hit home. For both of us. Last time he had to help me do everything from lift the baby on to me, to get me to the loo and shower, so what will happen this time in hospital? And when I'm in recovery, will he still get his time with the baby for skin to skin and just to take her all in?
The same with maternity. I loved my maternity leave with Brae. As a family it was a REALLY shitty time as my mum was very sick in hospital. She was literally in ICU at one end of the hospital and we were being told it didn't look good and I was at the other end giving birth...imagine the crappiest soap storyline ever and you're half way there. Most days for the next 8 months were spent visiting her in hospital with Brae but he was the good news that we all needed and a positive outcome from a crappy time. If I wasn't at the hospital, I was out and about meeting friends for lunch, at play dates, meeting for coffees and generally hanging out with Brae as Dan works (should say worked, thanks Covid) away a lot. I loved it and have been gutted for people who haven't been able to go out with their babies, meet friends and family and introduce their little one to the world.
Shannon and I started Oh Mumma as we really believe that it's so important for mums to feel supported and like themselves and not 'just someone's mum' devoid of their former personality, whether that's through the actual boxes (everyone needs some time out, even you!) or being honest and open in a non-judgmental community like on our social channels or through the blog so I've loved hearing how it's been for those who have had babies and those who are expecting like me. Everyone is different and everyone's journey is different, and there's no right or wrong way to feel and doing this really reminded me of that and I hope it does you too.
Here are some of your honest thoughts and feelings on pregnancy, childbirth and maternity in lockdown. Just look at those gorgeous faces - some you may recognise from here before...
Carly, mum to Hettie born in November, Manchester
I feel completely cheated. Spent the whole of my pregnancy in isolation as I'm a healthcare worker and was advised not to go to work and now baby is here we only get to leave the house to go food shopping. I wanted the baby groups, swimming and socialising.
Chloe, c-section planned end of March
My planned c-section is at the end of March and I just hope I can get home quickly. I was in 4 days with my first as well, and my husband did everything too. I feel for the partners as they need to bond. Although, I saw my midwife today and she seemed to think it will change in a matter of weeks and that they will go back to 2 hours of visiting a day.
*I like the sound of your midwife!!
Danielle, mum to Logan born in July, Kent
I wrote my last Oh Mumma blog back in March 2020 when this little nugget was 5 months cooking in my tummy, now she’s 7 months out! Last time I wrote about what it was like to be pregnant during a pandemic, this time I’m giving you a snippet of what life has been like post birth, still living through a pandemic, but this time with TWO kids and a husband working from home. It's been stressful, emotional and challenging at times but it's also been wonderful and I'll be forever thankful for the slower pace of life that lockdown has brought, allowing me to spend more quality time with my little family and allowing me to take in the special moments that I may otherwise have been too busy to fully appreciate under normal circumstances.
So, Logan was born on 12th July and I was lucky that we were out of lockdown by this point and that things had relaxed somewhat, especially where hospitals and labours were concerned, so Glenn was allowed to be with me the entire time (all 30 mins of it)! All the things I was worried about, which I talked about in my last blog such as not getting enough one on one time with Arthur before baby came along, I needn’t have worried about. I managed to do lots of things with him before Logan arrived and I'll be forever grateful for that. I’m also grateful that family and friends were able to meet Logan when she was born and that I was also able to enjoy a bit of normality before it all went crazy again and we ended up in lockdowns 2 and 3!
It's been hard though. Glenn’s at home working 5 days a week and Arthur is at nursery 2 days a week. Those 2 days are a little easier albeit boring if I’m honest. I love Logan (doesn’t every mother feel the need to say that before they’re about to say something negative about motherhood?!) but as she’s only 7 months she isn’t able to do much and it's hard going trying to entertain her. For a while we were able to go to baby classes and meet friends for walks round the park but now that’s all stopped, and I find the start of my week so monotonous. Mid-week when Arthur is around is the most stressful time as it’s a constant battle to keep Arthur quiet whilst Glenn is working. Our house is small so there isn’t really anywhere to escape for any of us. Luckily, as Logan is under 1, I have been able to form a support bubble with my mum and that has been a godsend, so our weeks are usually spent splitting our time between socially distanced playdates at the park or seeing mum. It's been nice having Glenn home at dinner time because we eat as a family most nights where before it was only weekends. However, it's hard in the week because the time of the day that I need to be doing bits like preparing dinner is the worst time of day for Logan as she is getting tired and hungry and I end up really stressed because she often ends up screaming whilst I try to placate her and do the dinner. I take for granted that Glenn is here because I forget that he is actually meant to be working so he can’t really mind baby. I’m grateful for bedtime put it that way!
I long for the days of soft play and baby classes – never thought I’d say that – and ambling around Bluewater whilst baby sleeps, finished up with a coffee and cake stop. I worry that Logan is missing out because she can’t go to the baby classes, experiences that her big brother had that she isn’t getting. But for all the negatives, there are a lot of positives too. It's wonderful for Glenn that he gets to spend so much extra time with the children and that he gets to spend time with Logan that he never got to with Arthur because he was in London working. It's beyond amazing to watch Logan and Arthur together and to see her copying her big brother. I shouldn’t worry about the experiences I think she is missing out on though as she learns every day from her big brother and she’s getting more fresh air than she ever would have if things were 'normal'. I’m more the type to pay someone to entertain my kids rather than do it myself (it's hard work man!) but I am finding myself appreciating them more in a way. I'm playing with them more than ever and soaking it all in because they really aren’t little long.
Wild Rising Skin - Danielle, mum to 2 week old
Love it tbh. I've been able to fully focus on the business.
Charliy, mum to 10 week old boy, Dorset
I have loved being in our baby bubble for the first few weeks, no visitors and getting to know each other but I am itching to get out and show my little man off and to meet all of our friends and family.
Julie, mum to Louie 6 weeks, Manchester
Pregnancy and motherhood in Covid times has been a real mixed bag for me... On one hand, not having fomo from a year of missed festivals/holidays/nights out has been a blessing (*I get the worst fomo and definitely would have had, being preggers in a “normal” year)!
Another upside has been not having a flood of visitors in the early weeks of motherhood, which has meant we can just find our groove a bit without a barrage of well meaning family and friends!
Downsides have been not being able to build up relationships and make friends with new mums/about to be mums at face-to-face NCT or baby groups; as you enter this totally crazy and mind blowing new phase of your life, more than ever you want to have a strong, supportive network around you but obviously Covid makes that hard! Hoping as things relax a little as the vaccine rolls out, I can start getting some boozy baby brunches in the diary before I’m back to work! :)
Jenny, mum to Alfie 5 months, London
Ahh maternity leave - the dream of filling my days with long lunches, seeing friends and taking Alf (now 5 months) to the wide array of weird and wonderful baby classes London has to offer has not materialised...instead over half his small life has been spent in a national lockdown.
...But it’s not been all bad; the bond with fellow new mum friends has been incredibly strong. All thrown together in the same (leaking!) boat, we’ve formed a really strong support network. With no baby classes available, we’ve been creating our own sensory classes over zoom and meeting where we can for walks. The “under 1 support bubble” has been invaluable to let me meet 1 other person for walks - I think I’ve formed a lot more friendships with other local mums than I would have pre-pandemic due to this.
My maternity leave is due to end in September and I’m REALLY hoping lockdown restrictions ease before then; as Alf is getting older I worry he’s missing out on socialising with other babies and activities such as swimming that we can’t recreate at home. I’m clinging on to the hope that the last few months of my leave will be spent drinking vino with my new mum chums while the babies play together. With the new measures due to be announced imminently, ignorance is bliss!
So, I guess it's a mixed bag of pros and cons at the end of the day in a relatively short space of time (although I definitely do not have the balls to say that to any one of these phenomenal mumma's who have been up all hours) and fast forward to the not to distant future and we will all be cheers-ing each other for making it through an experience like no one else before us and one that nobody could have predicted.
Would love to hear what you think so leave your comments below.