Our first week with Charlie was spent in hospital with a few complications however I was lucky to have my husband stay with us and after a week we were discharged home. We had a couple of weeks together the three of us and then my husband went back to work and it was just me and Charlie. I remember feeling scared that it was just going to be me by myself having to look after a newborn baby. Despite being a midwife I realised there was a lot I didn’t know about babies.
I remember during my pregnancy people would tell me about the happiness and excitement becoming a first-time mum would bring. They told me about the joys of maternity leave, the cake and coffee dates and the opportunities to make new friends - some who may become friends for life. In the early days I was lucky to have a lot of support from family who would pop in regularly to check that I was ok and help out even if it was to hold Charlie whilst I made a sandwich. I also had two good friends, one who had had her baby and one who was due very soon - it was nice we were there to support one another. As the weeks went by I was beginning to grow in confidence in getting out of the house (on time) to classes and meeting friends and family and a routine was beginning to fall into place.
Charlie turned 12 weeks old on the day lockdown was announced. At first I wasn’t too bothered about staying at home as my husband was working from home and I quite liked the thought of not having the pressure to go out and about. After a week or so Charlie laughed for the first time and I felt so lucky that both me and his dad got to be there to see this - I was really seeing the positives of us all at home together. However, as the next few weeks went by the anxiety crept in and I started to worry that Charlie wasn’t getting to socialise with any other babies or even his family. We had only just started going to classes so I hadn’t really had the opportunity to make friends with other mums or exchange numbers so knew I couldn’t keep in touch with them.
We were due a visit from our health visitor who called to say that due to the social distancing, so long as I didn’t have any concerns with Charlie she would offer advice and support over the phone. Having your baby weighed is exciting as a mum and although I knew he was gaining weight and growing well I remember feeling upset that we wouldn’t be getting his little red book filled in. Trying to remember all the questions I had for her over the phone about breastfeeding, sleeping, naps and lots of other things was so hard so I must have called her back a number of times that day!
I began to feel that my maternity leave was being ‘robbed’ from me and that I was missing out on all the things new mums and babies get to do together. I wanted to go to classes, have those cake and coffee dates with other mummies and discuss/ compare baby stories and experiences as there really are only so many excuses you can make to bob your head round the office door and tell his dad about another wet and dirty nappy.
Nevertheless, I decided to try and not let myself get down about it and try to see some positives as the safest thing for us all was to stay at home. This time during social isolation has allowed me to devote all my time to Charlie and have quality time with him that I’ll likely never get to have with him again. He has my attention all day, every day and I’m able to watch him grow and develop - I couldn’t be prouder of him!
Emily is 26 and works as a midwife. She has recently become a first time Mum with her beautiful little boy Charlie who was born on Dec 30th 2019 in the UK.