Being a new mum is hard work, and being one in 2020 is a whole new challenge. Read all about the lessons that I have learnt as a new mum this year.
Becoming a mum is a life-changing experience but little did I know when I learnt that I was pregnant last year, that I would be giving birth during a pandemic. Looking into the upcoming year, this time last year, I was excited and full of hope. I was having a baby and it was going to be a wonderful new adventure for me and my partner. I had my scan in January and found out that I was having a baby boy. We were both so exhilarated by the thought and started making plans for what we were going to do in preparation for the baby and after he was born.
Of course, no one could have predicted a pandemic. Come the end of February and the world had plunged headfirst into the Covid pandemic. It is all the news talked about. The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was dithering about whether he should be declaring a national lockdown. He soon finally announced that people of high-risk including women who were pregnant should isolate. I was promptly sent home from work and there began my confinement.
Waiting for baby
Everything changed. Soon everyone who could, was working from home and isolating, and being glued to the screen every evening to see what the bumbling UK government would announce next. I was working from home and that was my saving grace. It kept me sane as the months went by, but I became more and more alone. Our last big holiday abroad was cancelled, baby shower plans with friends cancelled and instead, I was left at home to grow bigger each day, waiting for the arrival of my baby.
Hospital appointments changed. My husband was not allowed to come with me and my midwife appointments were 10 minutes long, all of which were the usual blood test and blood pressure check. I felt as though I was left on my own and before the birth, given little to no information. I relied on books, youtube and blogs to get myself through what was coming next. You can read all about my birth story here.
It’s a boy!
Once I had my baby, postnatal depression hit me hard. I have always been strong of head and heart and in fact, my strength comes from my emotions. I was not expecting to feel so empty once I had my baby. I couldn’t process what had happened to me. My family were overjoyed by the baby’s arrival but I just couldn’t feel joy. It took me over a month to feel something and not break down in tears at the drop of a hat. I even cried at the prospect of my baby leaving us to go to university, and he was only 2 months old. My head was a scrambled mess.
PTSD taught me a lot about myself. It taught what real motherly love was, I loved my baby even though I couldn’t find joy for anything else. It taught me and reminded me again how incredible my husband was. He soldiered on for the both of us, trying to make me laugh everyday and keeping us together. He couldn’t relate to how I was feeling but he was always there, even silently holding my hand. He cooked for me, cleaned up with no complaint and took care of our baby, despite having never cared for a baby before. He took his new role whilst working a very stressful job in the NHS and trying to protect us from the virus. I will always be grateful for the pillar of strength he was for both of us.
Family is everything
I have always taken family for granted. This year taught me about the importance of family in more ways than one. Exasperated by my very overdue baby in June, I went to stay with my parents and I can’t even begin to describe how much they did for me. Whether it was my mum unearthing some random remedy or another to bring on labour (it didn’t work!) or my dad accompanying on walks to the park and protecting me from everyone else around me, they were amazing. I felt like I was 10 years old again, being protected and taken care of in every way.
My brother became my rock. He is the youngest and I bought him up, yet he somehow became my devoted protector. His naivety about what I was going through, his daily checking up on me and asking if the baby was ready to come or just taking me to buy milkshake, he was incredible. He made me laugh when I was getting more and more exhausted in the last days of my pregnancy. He held my hand and took care of me, a lot like I had taken care of him all those years ago.
The person who has taught me the most this year is my baby. My little boy who bought out my inner strength and reminded me what a gift life actually is. Whether it is his smile that melts my heart or the way he snuggles into wanting comfort, he was in his way taking care of me. He showed me that life may be complicated and ridiculously messy in 2020, but it can be joyful and full of love and laughter. We have our own bubble in our home, where no matter what is happening in the news, we have our own happiness and nothing can take that away from us.
So yes, 2020 cannot be put into words. It has been a rollercoaster but it has shown me the simple things to be thankful for.