Updated: Oct 26, 2020
The last few weeks of your pregnancy are all about the excitement of meeting your baby and just getting any last few bits sorted like fixing the isofix into the car, putting the Moses basket downstairs, meeting friends for coffee etc. Until that is, you are told the country is going into a national lockdown, you’re not allowed to complete your final few days at work or say your goodbyes and I think worst of all you're then told your partner is not allowed to go into the hospital with you unless you are in established labour. The anxiety sets in, you really don’t want to have to do this on your own, you don’t want to be in hospital for days on your own and you have no idea what your labour will be like. I didn’t have the best labour with my son Arthur, so this really got to me. The Dads are also scared and feel even more useless than normal. If you are reading this thinking this is you, you are about to give birth in the next few weeks or months, then ladies it will be ok!!!
Ivy was born at the start of this pandemic on 2nd April 2020. She was born two weeks early so I wasn’t completely mentally prepared to go into hospital. At this point there was also no information about whether or not babies can be affected by the virus. The Midwives were amazing. They looked after me and all of the other mums to be so well, making everyone feel so safe when they didn’t have their partners by their side. My experience was amazing and they could not have made me feel any safer; even though I couldn't see my midwife’s face because of her mask.
I would say my anxiety hit a new high about day 8 and 9 after Ivy was born. The baby blues had really hit. I could not stop crying and just didn't really know why. I remember sobbing whilst eating my dinner and my husband looking at me saying “what are you crying for now?”. He wasn’t being horrible, he just couldn't understand why I was that upset again, it was the 27th time I had cried that day! I was so scared that I was going to get Covid and that Ivy might also. I was literally thinking the worst. I must have imagined having a different symptom every night for the first month. Whilst breastfeeding at 2am I was googling the data for the past 24 hours, baby symptoms, how long it takes for the symptoms to appear and it goes on, a different set of questions each night. Then Boris went into hospital and I found myself praying for him. All I remember thinking was that if anything happens to him what on earth is going to happen to the country.
I didn’t let anyone hold Ivy apart from my husband and it was only when she was 4 months that family were able to give her a cuddle. Even then I only gave in because whilst in the middle of a field doing a Gruffalo hunt, Arthur declared he had the runs and we had to head to a portable loo. Ivy was in the baby carrier and I couldn't sort him out with Ivy on the front so I finally gave in and passed her to my sister in law... Jen. This was actually the day we came up with the idea of starting our new business venture, Freddie and Ivy. After this occasion I slowly allowed close family and friends to hold her but there are still some people close to us that haven't had a cuddle. I do feel sad that no one was able to meet Ivy in the first few weeks of her life, particularly her Grandparents. This is obviously every new mum's decision but with my anxiety about the virus I just had to keep my family safe, particularly my children.
Everyone is different after having a baby but in these strange times it can feel so much worse. So if you start to behave like me, don’t worry or put pressure on yourself, it will be ok! Six months on and I would say I am a lot calmer about the whole situation. Although I suffered with this anxiety, I have had the best six months with my little family and although maternity is very different to how it was when I had my son, I am making the most of the year off I have with my children. I get out every day, I follow all of the rules but still make the most of it. I am also very proud of setting up Freddie & Ivy with my sister in law and excited about our products which we truly think are of a quality and difference that you just cannot find on the high street. I didn’t want to look back and regret not making the most of this time. My advice is to wrap up and get outside, meet a friend in the park or an outdoor coffee shop and really make the most of the time you have with your little one. There are still things you can do in these strange times. Ladies it will be ok.