Almost 5,500 parents helped in the creation of Babies in Lockdown by completing our survey. Hundreds shared their stories of being pregnant, giving birth, and being at home with a baby during lockdown.
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How have you been coping during lockdown? Share your experience on our social media platforms to continue the conversation surrounding childbirth during lockdown. Share your #BabiesInLockdown story using the hashtag.
Fim, 35, London
Lockdown has been so stressful, especially early on when we couldn’t even go out for fresh air. My daughter picked up on how I was feeling – she became very clingy in a way she’d never been before, I couldn’t even shower properly because she got so upset. Before lockdown she was fine – now I feel she could sense what was going on and it even made her feel depressed. There was no exercise and no activity. At times she refused to even take a bottle and we both lost weight from stress; it felt like everything was on me.
Knowing my friends were all facing their own issues during the pandemic, I couldn’t really speak to them and it made me feel more isolated. I hope there’s not another lockdown – it’s been such a hard time, especially for people worried about financial security and job losses.
Naz, 24, Catford
Before the pandemic I was really excited about my pregnancy, and wanted my partner to be fully involved in the process. Then we went into lockdown and he wasn’t able to attend appointments with me anymore – it was so hard feeling like he was missing out and having to do all this alone with my first child.
My biggest fear was birth and not knowing whether my partner could be with me. I had complications during my water birth and was really stressed knowing that if we moved from the birthing centre my partner would have to leave. In the end I was moved to a labour room where I had my baby boy by forceps delivery. Within 45 minutes my partner had to leave – he couldn’t see our son again until I left the hospital on day three.
I had to have a spinal injection and stay on the labour ward, with only one other woman there with me at the opposite end. When I could finally leave I had to walk out alone with heavy stitching and all of my belongings – no one offered to carry anything for me.
Once home the experience was still horrible as my baby wouldn’t latch on – I had to wait five days to see a midwife and resorted to giving him milk in a syringe in the meantime. I also experienced numbness down my left side, which was undiagnosed despite trips to the labour ward and A&E.
Tinuke, 28, Greenwich
When the lockdown really took hold I was at the last stage of my pregnancy. It was such an anxious time for me – I was so scared of going to hospital and catching Covid. As I was low risk with this pregnancy my midwife agreed I could go ahead with a homebirth, but two weeks before my due date these were cancelled as ambulances could no longer support midwives. I was absolutely devastated – the idea that I wouldn’t have to give birth in hospital was the one thing that was keeping me sane.
After that I was at home, heavily pregnant, self isolating with a toddler. It was very challenging as I did not have enough support. My husband was at home but working full time, no one could visit, and my son couldn’t go to nursery so I just couldn’t rest. I had no support from the hospital during this time and arrived for some appointments only to find they had been cancelled or moved to another vicinity.
Thankfully the actual birth was smoother than I expected and I had a wonderful midwife. Using the Baby Buddy app once I left hospital really helped, since I wasn’t able to go to the children’s centre like I did after my first child. The Baby Buddy App reminded me to do the things that my health visitor would normally talk to me about and it actually feels like somebody was speaking to me. Isolated in the middle of a pandemic, it just feels nice to have something (even though it’s an app) that cares for you, and really does feel like a friend.
Laura, 33, Northern Ireland
My husband and I were so looking forward to 2020 – the year we would meet our baby! Sadly, shortly after our son was born, the combination of a painful infection, strong antibiotics and sleep deprivation led to me developing postnatal anxiety.
As my husband is a key worker, we made the difficult decision that I needed to move in with my parents, but we grieved the loss of the family time we had anticipated. Had I not received extensive help from my parents, I can’t imagine how much more stressful the lockdown period would have been.
One of the most difficult aspects of lockdown was the lack of face-to-face health care. I was only given a quick phone call for my six week postnatal check and blood tests were postponed indefinitely. Breastfeeding was difficult but we weren’t seen for assessment by the GP, so we were prescribed totally inappropriate medication until I discovered he had allergies. He’s doing much better now but I missed out on being able to attend breastfeeding support groups and not feeling like I was going through it alone. I am no longer living with anxiety though and I know that getting early support was crucial in my recovery, after my health visitor referred me to the ABC PiP team (a specialised parent-infant relationship team).
Steve, 36, Manchester
Our son was born in March, three days before lockdown officially started. I’d left my job shortly before – I wasn’t very happy there and my partner was kind enough to say, “we can afford it for a couple of months, why don’t you take some time and spend some time getting to know your son?”
My partner feels she was sort of robbed of her maternity. One of the things she wanted to do more than anything was go to this group called Puddle Ducks swimming, and she’s only recently been able to meet up with other new mums in the area. But she’s been amazing – I can’t believe that she’s managed as well as she has. We didn’t want to have the cliché of mum stays at home, dad goes to work, and it was harder than I expected.
I’ve struggled quite a bit mentally. There were a lot of times where I was worried I would drop my son. I was sleep deprived, absolutely abysmally down in the dumps, and I was finding very little help for fathers out there in terms of support.
Health visitors asked more about my partner, which I completely understand. She’s been through two lots of trauma, mentally and physically, but I was struggling with my mental health. That might sound awfully selfish, but it was like “I’m trying to get help”.
I then found Dad Matters (Home-Start Oldham, Stockport and Tameside’s project to support dads). I also started a podcast called Inside Dad and I make it slightly humorous at times, but then signpost to the likes of Dad Matters, and suggest dads talk to their midwives – they are there for you as well. It may not feel it but talk to them.