20 Babies Project
"During the lockdowns, we really were in a newborn bubble because it was just the three of us..."
At Tommee Tippee, we've been lucky enough to support and work alongside BALTIC's lockdown-inspired 20 Babies project, and we're proud to be able to share the individual experiences of some of the parents who were involved.
Here's Mel's story…
"When I found out I was pregnant with my daughter Eleanor, I already knew quite a lot about becoming a mum because my sister has two little ones, and unfortunately she went through post-natal depression after having both her babies. I think a lot of people go into parenthood not knowing about the effect it can have on your mental health, but I’d already been through that side with her, so I think – as much as anyone can be – I was pretty clued up about the whole thing. But babies are all so different, and I think that’s what you find out the most when you become a parent.
I knew becoming a mum would be hard at first, but surprisingly everything went better than I thought it would in a lot of ways.
For me, being in the house a lot when I was pregnant because of the COVID-19 lockdown was quite nice. It was way more restful than it might have been because we weren’t going out anywhere, and when my daughter was born, we had quite a content first few weeks with her.
I think a lot of people expect to have the newborn bubble, but don’t end up being able to have it because everyone wants to visit, and you end up going out. During the lockdowns, we really were in a newborn bubble because it was just the three of us.
Things did get a little more difficult as time went on because we weren’t able to bring in friends and family to help. I think if my experience with breastfeeding hadn't gone as well as it did, we would have found lockdown a lot harder.
Having come out of lockdown, I've enjoyed the 20 Babies project at BALTIC because we've been able to meet up with the same people over a year. It's very relaxed, there's great continuity and a strong sense of community.
Eleanor's confidence has grown and she's coming on leaps and bounds now, when we began the project, she couldn’t even walk!
Coming to the sessions has allowed me to reflect on a lot. Whenever you go anywhere and someone finds out you had a baby in lockdown, everyone asks about it, it kind of feels like a badge of honour. As we come out of the other side, it’s always nice to talk to people who’ve been through the same experiences and difficulties during the pandemic.
I remember one week we were talking about meeting people on park benches and looking back on how little things like that became a lifeline. Overall, it's helpful to know that you’re not on your own when you have a baby, even though it might feel like it when you're in the thick of it. We won't know what to do with ourselves on a Wednesday once the project finishes!"