New Parents in Lockdown: Phasing Out

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 na├»ve.

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.

Remember long ago when we could only go out to exercise once a day and you had BBC News rolling coverage on the TV 24/7? I longed for the numbers to reduce and for a bit more freedom so I could get on with the maternity leave I had pictured.

Nicola Sturgeon kept telling us about a ‘new normal’ and it really has become that way. Very quickly, my husband, my son, even the cat, and I forged our own little bubble and had become used to our new way of life. With the arrival of a baby, our lives were going to change anyway – just not in the way we expected. So when they started talking about phasing out, I couldn’t picture what that would look like anymore and how other people would fit in. I’ll admit it made me more anxious than excited. I liked how clear cut it had been – stay at home. Don’t see anybody.

As lockdown has started to ease, I can see other people starting to ease too and it feels like it has become more of a personal responsibility to keep ourselves and others safe, rather than following government rules. Whilst some people continue to take the dangers of spreading coronavirus seriously and wear face masks, step out of the way in the street and stick to the 2 metre outside socially distancing guidance; others are not. Very often hearts rule over heads.

It is frustrating to see and hear of people ‘bending’ the rules and ignoring the advice. Why do some people think it is okay for them to go and visit their parents or elderly relatives, potentially spreading the virus further, when there are thousands of people shielding to protect themselves? Thousands of grandparents unable to see their grandchildren? Sometimes I wonder whether we are the mugs for taking this seriously. Are we depriving our son because we are being overly cautious?

When our family and friends started to ask when and where we should meet up it made me nervous. Would they be taking the social distancing thing as seriously as us? If they came to our garden, would they be okay if we didn’t invite them in the house if it started raining, or if they needed the toilet? Can I have people over without offering them a tea or a coffee?

The big one as well – can we actually take our son to see relatives and it not be awkward when we don’t let them hold him or they can’t get close enough to play with him? Will the socially distant awkwardness affect him in any way? Will he then become socially awkward?! My list of worries was (and still is) huge.

Since the start of phase one, our household has dipped our toe in and met some close friends and family, who are all thankfully following the guidance as we all should be. We’ve made use of the sunshine and lay out on the grass, tickling our son until he giggles so we can share that beautiful noise with others. It’s a game of trust though, and will increasingly become so as we move into the next phase.

Whenever I have met anyone outside my household I now can’t help but think that if I were to test positive for coronavirus then they may get contacted through Test and Protect. They may then have to self isolate for 14 days. Will they be able to continue working? What affect will it have on their upcoming plans?

It is hard not to become paranoid but life also needs to continue. My head wants me to keep my household safe, but my heart wants to see my son being lifted up by his grandparents and aunts and uncles, laughing with them like he does with us.

If anything, lockdown has taught me how important face to face contact is and made me appreciate how easy I had it being able to travel to see family before this outbreak. All I ask is that people follow what we are being told as hard as it may be, so that when the time comes for us to forge another new normal, it is the right time.

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