"I've lived in Newcastle with my family for the last three years now, but I'm originally from Namibia in Africa.
As well as my son, I also have an older daughter who was born in Namibia when I was 25. When I had my first baby, I was able to ask my mum and grandma for support, but this time around, it was just me and my husband, so it was quite lonely sometimes. Our son Gambu is our first baby together, so we had to learn a lot, but we had tons of help from our neighbours, a health visitor, a breastfeeding charity, and some mummy groups which was good. But it was different with the pandemic and the lockdown.
When it comes to having a baby during the pandemic, I didn’t have any expectations, I just tried to live for the moment and take each day at a time.
I’m high risk because I have diabetes, so to be pregnant during a pandemic was hard. I was getting sent letters from the city council telling me to isolate, but I was lucky that I received a lot of support from them to do so.
I was drawn to the 20 Babies group because I wanted to be around other people after being in the house for so long. I love meeting other mums and asking them questions like ‘how are you doing it?’, ‘what did you do during the pandemic?’, ‘how did you do it?’, you know just learning from them and sharing their experiences. It's really motivating. So, when I was given the opportunity, I was like, I’m definitely going!
My son loves coming to the group, and although he's a happy baby, he has become very clingy lately. I think that the sense of anxiety probably comes from it being just us in the house during the pandemic. He's gone from just knowing me and his dad and sister, to suddenly going out in the world.
I think it’s been hard for him to adjust but coming to the BALTIC group is helping to open him up. He's learning how to play, how to use a toy, and he’s seeing other kids. Now when we go out for walks or go into supermarkets and he sees a baby you can see his eyes broadening and he's like 'wow another baby!', it's funny, he just gets so excited when he sees another kid.
When we're with the other mums and little ones, I feel comfortable sharing how I feel and talking about my experiences, as well as learning about the lives of others. I'm a people person, I like to know things, and I'm curious!
I suffered mental health issues during the pandemic during pregnancy, and I am seeing a psychologist which has helped a lot. But coming to the group has also helped a lot. Seeing children, their smiles, and just hearing them laugh is very comforting. Being here there's never a dull moment!
We've loved being part of the 20 Babies project and always look forward to it every Wednesday!"