Published on: 26th October 2020
Having a baby is one of the most momentous events many people experience in their lives; but it’s also a time of enormous change and adjustment.
While many families have responded in innovative ways, introducing grandparents over Zoom, or having virtual meet-ups with friends; for some families the pressure that the arrival of a baby can bring – on relationships, finances, and mental health – can push them into crisis.
A recent survey (by Parent-Infant Foundation) showed 68 per cent of parent said their ability to cope with their pregnancy or baby has been impacted by covid, with nearly nine in 10 reporting that they were more anxious as a result.
Laura Brodetsky is a senior mental health practitioner with Tameside and Glossop early attachment service, which works with parents, babies and children, from pregnancy until the child’s fifth birthday.
Laura said: “Covid restrictions have meant that many new mums have gone through some or all of their antenatal care and baby’s birth alone – this can be a frightening and uncertain time.
“Once baby has arrived, new parents have been forced to physically distance themselves from family, friends and professionals – in effect, very significant support networks have almost disappeared for many new parents and their babies.”
Laura and the team have put these tips for new parents who may be struggling at this time (click the box below):
This mum from Tameside has shared her story of raising a baby during lockdown:
“As a first time mother with a seven month old lockdown baby, it’s been hard, too hard really to put into words. I first started speaking to someone from the early attachment service on the phone every week when my son was around a month old.
At that point I was at rock bottom. I had a lot of trouble adjusting and bonding, I felt the world was on my shoulders and that I was alone in this new world I’d found myself in.
With lockdown and all the restrictions that came with it, I had no outside help. Nobody to tell me I was doing ok, nobody to take some of the strain away while I took a shower, ate a meal, had a coffee or a nap.
There were no baby groups I could take my son to, no other mothers I could socialise with, to bring me any sense of relief or normality. Both my son and I were missing out on all the things other mothers before me possibly took for granted.
When I first started speaking to someone, when I started to slowly tell them my story and of the traumatic way in which my son entered the world; I was dubious that there was another possible cause of why I was feeling the way I was. I didn’t see how someone on the end of a phone could make anything better. How anyone on the end of a phone could take away any of what I was feeling and the thoughts I was having.
However, within a few weeks I was telling them things that I’d never really admitted even to myself before. And within those first few months they weren’t just a person on the end of a phone - they were a lifeline to me. They made me see that the way I was feeling was normal. They made me realise that I was doing ok, that I was a good mum and my son was getting everything he needed from me.
They helped me to understand my son, but more than that they gave us those first few vital threads of connection, the start of a bond that I knew had been missing.
One of the most important things they gave me was they helped me to laugh again. Actual laughter that made my sides hurt. That’s when I realised I was slowly coming through the other side.
Having a baby in lockdown is hard. Talking to a stranger over the phone about your life, your intimate thoughts and feelings is even harder. But they helped me when I didn’t know how to help myself. They were there for me 24 hours a day, they were and still are only ever a text or a phone call away. If I need them they are there.
In all honesty, without their help and guidance through this phase in my life, where would I be? The answer to that is I truly don’t know.
The early attachment service has been unbelievable and I genuinely feel the relationship we have built up over the last few months is one of the most important of my life.
Lockdown is hard. Not being able to go out and do normal day to day things or activities with a new baby is hard. Not being able to go and play in the park or allow my son to make friends is hard. Knowing at seven months my son has relatives he hasn’t even met yet is hard.
But the help we have received as a family is truly phenomenal and both my son and myself thank them from the bottom of our hearts.”