Hannah, mum of Olivia and Kids Matter programme developer (plus ad hoc strategist!), shares what it’s like being pregnant in a pandemic and highlights the impact of lockdown on vulnerable families who’ve had babies in 2020…
Earlier this year I had the privilege of being the first person (other than his new parents and the staff on the labour ward) to set eyes on my best friend’s baby. It was through a window that happened to face onto a path through the hospital; no visitors were allowed in and it would be weeks until I got to see my friend again (without the glass partition). We’re still waiting to share a ‘congratulations’ hug 9 months on.
In England, 1,688 babies are born every day, so this little ‘lockdown baby’ is one of 1000s born in 2020 since life started to look so different. Next year, I’ll be adding to the number with our second baby due in February. Other than wearing masks to appointments, texting friends to let them know the good news rather telling them in person, and leaving my husband to wait outside the prenatal clinic, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience very little of the physical impact of coronavirus and lockdown throughout pregnancy.
However, there has been something anxiety-inducing about carrying a baby knowing that the world is collectively fighting against a virus that we still haven’t fully grasped the severity of. And being aware that we’re bringing a new life into a period of time where we already see so much stress and strain on our healthcare system still lays unresolved for me.
This year will have been a much more difficult one for new parents and vulnerable families because of Covid-19 than it has been for me in this pregnancy (see the Children’s Commissioner’s report on ‘Lockdown Babies’ published earlier this year for some sobering yet important facts). But if carrying a new little life at Christmas time reminds me of anything, it is that fresh beginnings are full of possibility, hope and potential. And our vision at Kids Matter – to see every child in need raised in a strong family – holds out hope for families who face disadvantage and looks for the potential in every parent we meet.
Kids Matter is a programme that engages with families and young children before crisis point – it strengthens families by giving mums and dads the tools to be competent, confident parents or caregivers. To get involved, as a volunteer or by financially supporting our programme, please contact us at email@example.com