What It’s Like Having A Newborn In Coronavirus Lockdown
What’s it like when you have a newborn in Coronavirus lockdown?
Having a newborn baby is a rollercoaster of new experiences, different emotions, extreme sleeplessness, joy and all the hormones at once, mixed up in one crazy, amazing bundle.
But what happens when you have a newborn in coronavirus lockdown, and when the birth of your first baby happens to fall in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic?
I recently became an aunt again, to my amazing new niece, so spoke over What’s App and email with the new mum and dad – my brother Paul and sister-in-law Gabi – to find out what it’s like having a newborn in Coronavirus lockdown, what’s different and difficult about becoming first-time parents in a pandemic, and how the three of them are getting on.
First of all, hi guys! What impact did the Coronavirus pandemic have on your birth?
G I gave birth a week before the lockdown started in the UK, so at that point there wasn’t a noticeable impact on antenatal care, or many big changes in the hospital on the day I went into labour. However, in the final trimester of my pregnancy there were many terrible stories in the news and we knew it would be a matter of time before a lockdown happened here, although no-one really knew what was going to happen. It was a really worrying time, on top of the worry I already had about giving birth.
P Due to everything that was happening we wanted the baby to arrive as close to her due date as possible, so of course she was two weeks late!
G We were really aware of what was going on with Coronavirus. I ended up having an emergency c section and even though the mother usually stays in hospital for 2-3 days, the day after I gave birth I asked the midwives if I could go home as I didn’t want to be in hospital any longer than necessary. The staff were all amazing but we were worried about the risk of getting infected, especially as the the post-natal ward had so many people coming and going.
We feel so lucky now as we know that there have been lots of changes since, for example in some hospitals women are not allowed to have their partner with them after giving birth to minimize the risk of contamination in the hospital, and home births have been cancelled in our area. Obviously this is to keep things as safe as possible for everyone, but it’s an extra challenge for women giving birth now and the pressure on the NHS staff in maternity wards is even higher.
What’s been the trickiest thing about having a newborn under lockdown?
G What’s been tricky is that we only had one face-to-face appointment with the midwife the day after we got home, then everything was moved online. I’ve been having check-ups and getting help from midwives and our GP but only via email or phone. Our six-week check was also over the phone.
Luckily we’re all healthy, the baby is fine and I’m recovering well. But I cried a lot the first week because I felt there was so much for me to learn and I was counting on seeing midwives and health visitors to help me. I’m from Brazil, and there you take your baby to the paediatrician every month so my initial idea of postnatal care involved a lot more face-to-face contact than it does at the moment, I had a picture in my mind through pregnancy about how things would be, but it all changed and we had to deal with it. That was hard at that time.
Obviously as a new mum I have lots of questions, but it’s tricky not having anyone to ask in person – so what I normally tend to do is research online and ask family and friends advice before getting in touch with a health professional with anything.
P These are extreme circumstances and everyone’s been brilliant given what’s going on, but it’s not ideal when it’s your first baby and you worry about everything, from whether are things normal, to should she be doing certain things, and to specific things things like is the rash she had OK? On top of that we had the same worries as everyone about being on lockdown in a pandemic, around whether we’d be able to get enough food, worrying about the health of our friends and family, and thinking about what’s going to happen in the future.
How are you finding having a newborn in coronavirus lockdown, a few weeks in?
G I think now the trickiest for me is not to be able to share much of Maya with my friends and family. She is so little and adorable and she will grow so quickly, and this is a time that we won’t get back to share with everyone.
P It’s hard not seeing friends and family like you normally would after having a baby. Gabi’s family live in Brazil and we don’t know when we’ll be able to see them, her Mum’s flight to visit was cancelled. My parents are in the ‘at risk’ category so even if lockdown does become more relaxed, should we risk seeing them? It’s all the things that new parents wouldn’t even have to consider during more normal times.
How do you keep in touch with friends and family and how have you been keeping them updated on the baby?
P We are lucky to have family and friends who have been able to help, and although we are not seeing them in person, What’s App and Facetime helps.
G I have been in touch with so many people who have been very caring throughout my pregnancy. FaceTime and What’s App have been our way to socialise during lockdown and also keep in touch with other new mums I met during pregnancy. Everyone’s been so nice – some friends are even organising a FaceTime pub quiz for my birthday in two weeks.
Finally, I just want to add that the midwives and health visitors have all been fantastic given what’s going on and the pressure they must be under! Even though it’s not possible for them to see us face-to-face they get back to us so quickly and are so helpful. I feel given the circumstances it’s been going OK and it’s actually been lovely to have lots of time for the three of us to get to know each other.
If you’ve just had a baby, make sure you read my post on things they never tell you in NCT classes and the seven rules of the sleep deprivation society, as told by Prince William. You can also follow me on Instagram.