Having a Baby Is Stressful Enough, Imagine Doing It In a Pandemic!
Having a baby can be an emotional rollercoaster, from the excitement of finding out you are pregnant, to the joy of seeing those little toes on the sonographer’s screen, and then there is the stress that comes with making sure you have everything you need and the anticipation in the delivery room as you wait to hear that first little cry.
It is a lot to cope with at the best of times, now imagine adding a global pandemic into that mix.
I can not imagine how stressful it would be to be pregnant, let alone to have a newborn baby in 2020, so I reached out to five new mums to ask about their experience.
Ashleigh, 25, First Time Mum
COVID-19 luckily didn’t impact my pregnancy as it started to become a problem at the very end of my pregnancy when I went into hospital to be induced there were no rules in place yet! My appointments were as normal at the clinic I was going to for my check-ups during my pregnancy but unfortunately, the 4th-trimester catch-ups with other mums had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 which was a shame.
“COVID-19 made me extremely nervous and anxious”
COVID-19 made me extremely nervous and anxious, it hit me really bad on day three, “the baby blues”, watching the news and seeing what was happening and having a little human with no immune system yet was terrifying. I was so anxious to leave the house for Pippa’s first doctor’s appointment when she was a week old, after that I luckily had the support from my Mum, but I always thought I’d have all my girlfriends with me helping me and enjoying my daughter but sadly no one got to hold her until she was about 2-months-old.
I think the biggest challenge was learning to enjoy the downtime with Pippa, it wasn’t easy at the start, but I think it was a blessing in disguise because usually, I’m a busy and social person and not having the choice but to rest was good for me and my recovery in the long run.
My tip would be to go into it excited to be in a little love bubble at home with your bubba where it’s safe rather than dread it because later down the track they will be the most special memories!
Dani Elle, 30, Mum of Three, Step Mum of One
COVID-19 was pretty stressful for me from the get-go. I was stood down from my employment as soon as the first stage of restrictions were announced, as I worked in hospitality my workplace was forced to shut their doors shortly after. I was only 5 months pregnant at the time and had hoped to work longer throughout my pregnancy. This added extra financial stress for myself and my partner especially because we were having twins, taking our family from four to six!
I was not allowed to take anyone into my ultrasounds. Having a complicated multiple pregnancy, I was required to be closely monitored. I had to have an ultrasound every 2 weeks that went for a minimum of 2 hours. I found the scans to be daunting having no one there to support me. I spent a lot of time in the hospital alone throughout the pregnancy as I had hyperemesis.
My partner and I were not allowed to celebrate our twins by having a baby shower at any time throughout my pregnancy due to the restrictions. This was sad and disappointing for my family.
COVID-19 also made it hard to get everything that we needed for the babies. Because of all of the panic buying, everything was out of stock. There were delays with online orders because of border closures and everything arrived at the last minute.
I would tell other mums in my situation, don’t be afraid to talk about how you feel. I was worried about saying that it was emotionally impacting me because I felt there were a lot of other people doing it a lot worse throughout the pandemic. I think in some ways everyone has been effected and it is important to talk about how you are feeling because there might be someone feeling the same way and they should know they are not alone.
Due to Covid-19, my appointments were set at another location away from the hospital which made things easier in hindsight, a bit closer to home, less risk of contact with people as it was usually just me and the midwife. I never attended the hospital until I birthed. Not being able to see the hospital did admittedly worry me because it was a different place to where I had birthed my first two but again in hindsight I had a really good midwife so just trusted in her rather than where I would be birthing.
The only ‘COVID-19’ experience we had was on arrival at the hospital when we were checked for temperatures. After that, it was pretty much business as usual in the birthing suite.
We didn’t have to isolate but I was only allowed my husband and photographer into the birthing suite. We were also sent home 4 hours after birth. This made me really nervous leading up to giving birth but it was honestly so nice to go straight home and be with kids, and just wake up in my own bed. I could imagine this would be confronting for a first time mum. But as a third-time mum, I felt so confident and ready to just be in our newborn bubble.
I was lucky my family were able to come from Melbourne at that point on special conditions which they applied for as I have no assistance here besides hubby. So they were here for ten days prior to heading back. It’s hard now though that it’s basically only hubby and our family can’t come to be with us. Especially since newborns grow so quickly I feel he will be grown by the time they see him again. It has helped me fall into a routine much quicker though.
My biggest worry was whether they were going to allow partners into the room. It really scared me to go through something as special and also memorable as birth alone. I also felt like it was my husband’s right to be there to witness such a magical thing. I was lucky he was able to be there.
My tips for Mums would be, to be confident in the health professional you choose. Whether that be an obstetrician, midwife or your GP. I think having confidence in that meant I wasn’t as worried. Also, I practised a lot of hypnobirthing/meditation to help calm me. I found this really helped me slow down when I did worry about things but was an amazing tool for birth as well. Just be confident that your body does know what it’s doing.
I had a high-risk pregnancy so my appointments had to continue as normal throughout my pregnancy despite COVID-19 restrictions. I finished work just before COVID-19 lockdown commenced, I had so much planned for my maternity leave as it was the first time I had taken work off in a very long time. I had to cancel everything my baby shower and our babymoon (the first holiday my partner and I would have ever taken together), instead, I spent my last few weeks of pregnancy in lockdown.
I originally wanted to have my partner and my sister in for the birth which changed to only being allowed to have my partner and he was the only person who could visit me during my stay in hospital. I hated being in the hospital and couldn’t have got out of there any quicker. I had a horrible aftercare experience and being a first time Mum with second-degree tears, botched stitches and a large blood loss and then trying to change and feed a newborn all day by myself with overworked nurses never coming to check on me, was all really stressful.
My best friends live in Melbourne and one of them was able to meet my son when he was 3-months-old as she had to come to Brisbane for work but the other still hasn’t been able to meet him yet.
There will never be enough FaceTime in the world to fill the void of wanting your loved ones to spend time with your own little creation.
My partner’s hours got cut during COVID-19 and eventually, they laid him off and we were still waiting for Centrelink to process. Not only was I dealing with the 3rd-day blues, but I was looking at our bank account and realising we weren’t going to be able to pay our rent. We had to put through an appeal with the Real Estate and they reduced our rent for a month so we had some breathing space to sort out our finances.
I spent so much time stressing about money, stressing about things that were outside of my control, thinking about the what-ifs, when really I failed to see that I should have been living in the moment. I have been able to spend quality time with my partner like never before. We have both been able to soak in all the goodness of the magical moments of our sons younger months. When we finally had a moment to breathe and realised that we were actually surviving, we reflected on what we wanted to do in life, and now my partner is going to be a stay at home dad while he studies for 12 months and I will be going back to work because that is going to set our little family up for the future.
“Pandemics may break the bank, but they can’t break strong relationships. You’ll make it”