Parenting is tough as it is, but during a pandemic, when services are closed or stretched to breaking, the lifelines that we rely on are unavailable, friends and family are inaccessible, it can be incredibly hard. It can also have some unexpected benefits, or moments of discovery.
With huge thanks to the National Lottery for a grant, we are talking about all things parenting, in a pandemic, with a host of guests and experts sharing their experiences.
We hope you find some solidarity, and some laughs here! We certainly did.
Episode 1 - Opening your Mother Box
Welcome to Parenting in a Pandemic - our first podcast and an introduction to Becoming Mums, the support group, to Liz and Fi, it's founders and to the issues we will be exploring!
Episode 2 - Everlasting February and Crinoline
Ever looked out of your window and thought about all the other parents in their houses, going through exactly what you are? Join us to talk about connections, baby classes, tribalism and how the pandemic has impacted.
Episode 3 - Anxiety and a week of cat sick
Anxiety, when is it normal, when is it too much? How do we know what to expect as a new mum, and is anxiety often overlooked?
This episode we talk to Joanna Maher, a trainee clinical psychologist about research she is doing in to postnatal anxiety, and whether social support services impact positively.
If you want to take part in her research, the study is for UK based, first-time Mums who are over 18. The study is looking at the experience of stress, anxiety and social support after giving birth, and it is hoped that this research will help us better understand how to support new Mums during such an important and precious time in your child’s life.
Please note that all your response are anonymous and you will not be asked to share in detail about your experiences. A current or previous diagnosis of depression or anxiety does not exclude you from taking part.
For further details about the study and to take part please follow the link below:
or contact [email protected] for more details.
If you are experiencing anxiety and need help, please contact your GP, health visitor or midwife. You can also find help from the Berkshire Perinatal Mental Health Service, the Maternal Mental Health Alliance, the charity MIND and you'll find more links on our website
Episode 4 - Your Stories
This week we listen to and reflect on three stories of parenting in a pandemic, exploring the challenges, the unseen moments, the mental health difficulties, from giving birth during lockdown to finding strength for your three children, all of these stories reflect love and bravery in the face of great challenges. You can find all ten stories, told in the words of the women themselves on our website.
If you need help with any of the issues raised in this podcast, please go to our website to find links and resources that may help. becomingmums.com
Episode 5: Party Bag Etiquette and Physical Activity for Mental Health with Sport in Mind
We talk this week with Kayleigh from Sport in Mind, a charity who help improve mental health through physical activity and sport. We all know that the more we get out, get up and get moving, the better we can feel.
We talk about disastrous fitness classes, the barriers to getting outside, how habit forming helps, and how important for our mental health activities are that are fun, social, welcoming and 'unfailable'!
Join our free, fun, relaxing and uplifting movement sessions in Christchurch Meadows in April. Check our website, facebook or sportinmind.org for more details.
Episode 6: Pom poms and Practical Pampering
What is it you wish you'd gotten after the birth of your baby? Food? An empty wash basket? Reassurance? A clean kitchen? This week Liz an Fi talk through the heady newborn times and what kind of help we wished we'd asked for. Offers of popping over can sometimes be met with anxiety, sleep deprivation or feeding problems and despite well-intentioned offers of help, we'd often choose to decline them for fear of putting friends and family out of their way. So we are launching our new Practical Pampering voucher - a gift that keeps on giving and helps take the awkwardness out of asking for the help that you really need. You can find the voucher on our website, facebook and instagram pages! Download it, give it to friends and family, put in the congratulations card, use it to start a conversation with your partner about what you want in the early months of new baby land. Let us know how it goes!
Episode 7: A World of Single Parenting
Being a single parent can be hard work and a lot to juggle without a pandemic thrown into the mix, but it can also be liberating and freeing. We are joined by solo mum of one and University lecturer Beth, who discusses the emotions, practicalities, benefits and downsides, and how to let go and live in a world where good enough is really good enough.
Episode 8: Advocacy with Reading Maternity Voices
Covid-19 has been a challenge in so many ways but particularly for those facing birth. We talk to Reading Maternity Voices about the issues faced by women and their birth partners during the pandemic; scans, appointments, birth plans and how they were able to resolve and mediate an emotionally turbulent time.
Emma joins Liz & Fi to talk about who Reading Maternity Voices are, the gap that they fill and how important it is to have someone on your side, asking the questions and supporting you through the unknown. We explore how feedback is essential to the growth of hospital maternity care and how to add yours.
You can find them at http://readingmaternityvoices.org.uk or via their Facebook page for more information on help, feedback and volunteering.
Episode 9: In a Class of her Own
Amongst a multitude of cancellations in 2020, hybrid e-learning and zoom calls - antenatal, newborn & toddlers classes that had previously met in person found themselves on screen and for some part, temporarily abandoned.
For parents it meant keeping little ones entertained by way of a screen and for the organisers it meant new equipment, rapid learning and fast skill set expansion.
But what did it mean for everyone? Were online classes able to provide the same stimulation and support? Erratic internet connections and low boredom thresholds for screen time proved a hurdle for some and to occupy others. We talk about the pitfalls and benefits of online classes with Lou Fox Potter from The Mummas Village about what it meant for our mental health, finances, routines & day to day interactions for our children and for us.
Where do classes go from here and can they get back to what they were before?
You can find The Mummas Village online via their website and on their Instagram & Facebook pages.
Episode 10 : Confessions!
This week, for the series finale, Liz & Fi read out your confessions! From the nightmare poo to the mental load, we talk about the things you've told us and why sometimes you feel it's hard to say out loud.
We talk about the hilarious moments that take parents by surprise; explosive nappies, secret poos, animal stampedes (!) and the intensely hard newborn days. We also chat about the things we weren't expecting to be so hard, how we managed and how we feel when we see others embarking on starting a family.
Join us for this series final episode before we return later in May for series 2!