New Parents in Lockdown: A new normal

When I told everyone I was expecting my first baby they all said ‘it’ll be the hardest, but most rewarding thing you’ll ever do in your life’…little did they know what was to come.

I’d smile, hold back the sickness that a green apple (because for some reason my growing child only accepted red apples) was about to bring, and think that there couldn’t be anything harder than dealing with all the symptoms of pregnancy. My clothes didn’t fit me anymore, I was constantly tired but couldn’t sleep and the heartburn was indescribable – and my daily life went on. How naïve.

However, I now find myself muddling through parenthood, basically making it up as I go along, whilst the world around me is in chaos with a pandemic virus upon us.

So with all the free time that cancelled baby groups and activities can afford me I am going to write a series of blogs about my journey into parenthood and the crazy world we live in.

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It has been over two weeks of official lockdown, and exactly seven weeks of parenthood. The numbers are rising.

It has been restricting, miserable in some cases, but completely necessary. It has also brought out the absolute best in us all. The number of people signing up to volunteer or are helping their neighbours is heart-warming. We’ve shown ourselves to be adaptable, inventive and have learned that we don’t actually need that much in life.

I’ve seen more people out walking or running than ever before – gym membership really is going to take a hit after this is over. I’ve also said hello to more people in my community than ever before (from a safe distance) and I’ve seen rainbows, kind messages, teddy bears and heard people clapping with appreciation. People are actually waving at my husband through the living room window as he sits at the table to work every day.

It is incredible how quickly you get used to a new kind of normal, and as baby Harris has started smiling and making eye contact with us it has made me realise that this is just his normal. He doesn’t know what life was like before.

I had high expectations for maternity leave. I was going to be supermum and sign him up to every class going, I was going to make “Mum friends” and go out for coffee. I was going to take Harris swimming, to the park and the beach. I pictured him with lots of wee buddies that in the future he could say, “we’ve been friends our whole lives.”

He is not going to know he has missed all this though, but is learning about the world around him at a time when the best of humankind is shining through. I really do hope it rubs off! We are making the effort to properly group chat with family and friends online as opposed to just absent minded messages throughout the day, we are entertaining each other with homemade pub quizzes and, something unique to our own house, actually baking and cooking from scratch with the ingredients we have and not letting anything go to waste. We have time and have stopped rushing about at a million miles an hour (why did we feel the need to do that before?!)

The lockdown has encouraged us to use technology for more than just sharing funny memes and surfing the web. It is being used to bring people together. Classes and groups are being held online and I’ve already had Harris at Ally Bally Bounce and Beat and started a Baby Massage course. It’ll never be the same as meeting people face to face, but it’s so much better than doing nothing and ticks some of my maternity leave boxes! I’m even in Whatsapp groups with other new Mum’s, who eventually I’ll meet in person too.

Two weeks ago I was glued to the news and had it on in the background all day long. Now I’ll only check online and have a read in the afternoon to keep up to date. It is just too depressing. I know why we are doing this and understand how important it is, but I also know that we need to continue to live and make the most of what we have at this point in time. Who knows how long this new normal will go on for. As for being a parent, is life ever going to be normal again?

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