Parenting in a Pandemic - Story 1

1st October 20

Thank you to everyone who submitted their stories for our Parenting in a Pandemic piece. We are covering one a week for 3 months due to the response we got, all absolutely incredible pieces that show the honesty behind lockdown, what we encountered along the way and where we are now. We have decided (unless the author has requested to not be anonymous) that names and details will be withheld and have left it to them to come forward if they'd like to and if they feel comfortable.

My son was born during lock down. My husband could not come with me as he had to look after our 5 year old son meaning I knew I had to give birth alone. My contractions were extremely painful after I was administered pitocin via an IV and I longed for someone to be with me. All the midwives wore masks and aprons, I couldn’t see their facial expressions - at times I felt I was part of a science experiment with me at the centre. My labour was long and lonely and I asked one of the midwives for a hug as I felt I couldn’t do it by myself.

I wasn’t able to see anyone outside of other patients my whole stay. No one was allowed on the ward which meant I didn’t see my husband or son for 5 days. When we were finally reunited as a family, the feeling was overwhelming and it took all my strength not to break down when I could embrace my son. Driving home I was reminded of the realities of Covid. No one on the streets, signs and masks worn by everyone. I became very anxious about leaving the house, worried that something would happen. I sometimes spent moments standing at the door, staring outside but never going any further and when I did eventually venture out, I’d cross the street if I saw someone approaching.

Due to my husbands work commitments I suddenly found myself having to home school my 5 year old and tend to my newborn. My sleepless nights coupled with new responsibilities were overwhelming. My oldest became angry and would lash out and some of his behaviour regressed back to being a toddler. By the summer we decided to stop home schooling for the sake of everyones mental health but even without this, life was increasingly difficult - I had recently started a business, my newborn had tongue tie so feeding was problematic, we have a puppy and now the sole weight of keeping the house going was down to me. I broke down and my husband and I had an honest conversation about what I was going through and what I needed from him.

It is now 5 months since I had my son during lockdown. My oldest son is going back to school so I am feeling excited for him to see all his friends but anxious because the illness is still around. Just want my family to be safe. On a happy note my 5 month old is sleeping very well at night now so I am feeling more refreshed and myself these days. Feel great being able to relax in the evening either reading a book or watching a film with my husband. It's all about the little things in life.

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