Dreaming of maternity leave, meeting my precious baby and all the wonderful memories we would make kept me going through what I would consider a difficult pregnancy (let’s just say I didn’t have the glow).
I had visions of picnics in the park, days at the zoo where I’d teach my son all the names of the animals and we’d explore, and take way too many photos. Visions of family members stealing all those precious cuddles and cooing over the little toes. He would proudly show off his new skills, sitting crawling and walking, and everyone enjoying all the adventures with us.
As you probably may have already guessed, that’s not what happened.
We have spent most of his life in lockdowns and various restrictions. Family have missed spending that quality bonding time, and I’ve had to learn, adapt and cope with the struggles of being a new mum by myself. My son has not had the chance to see faces, (all masks and no expressions) and this has been hard.
However, the time has not been all about the restrictions lockdown has taken away, it’s also given us so much. We’ve had a year of one on one time. We have countless memories in my home that I will remember every time I look at the mark on my window where we made a den, or at a paint stain from our day body painting. Yes it started as normal painting but apparently the paper wasn’t a good enough canvas. Lockdown has made me realise what is important in life and who are those people you truly miss. I have found different ways of communication and made more of an effort to talk daily to those I miss.
So no, this time is not what I had planned and we have missed out on so much social development for my son, and support from those near to us, but we do have our health and we know it’s not forever. What I have taken away from this experience is to never take for granted the company of others, to make time for who is important and don’t let daily tasks let you miss that phone call or chance to talk.
I’ve made new online friends and I check that they are doing OK every day. I listen, I sympathise and I don’t judge; being a new mum, or a mum in general, is the hardest job. Rewarding? Yes of course, but it can also be isolating and lonely.
If you’re a mum and struggling during lockdown, please reach out. This isn’t a normal time and things are tough but there are other women out there that know how you feel, and they also let the dishes pile up or the washing, just to get through the day. Staying home means staying healthy, but what about our mental health? This is just as important and reaching out and talking can make all the difference.
You’ve got this mum, we can do this together.