Well, what an absolute whirlwind this past year has been.
Living in a pandemic and finding out we were expecting our 3rd Baby, our world and lives have been truly turned upside-down! It’s been a completely different experience being pregnant during a pandemic. Due to lockdown, many family members and friends haven’t even seen my baby bump this time around, other than in photos. My whole pregnancy has felt a lot more lonely to the previous two, with minimal support. Appointments have mostly been attended alone, which is extremely hard for me with my anxiety. It’s also been super difficult having to keep finding childcare, as children have not been so welcomed to attend as they usually would be!
There have also been a whole load of extra things to drive me into panic. Wanting to keep your baby safe inside with the fear of everything going on in the outside world, during a year of such uncertainty, opens a canned cocktail of emotions. It’s been hard, and I salute all the fellow pandemic mums out there – especially those first time mums that have had some of their experience robbed from them due to the circumstances. It’s been less than perfect timing for a pregnancy. No antenatal classes or maternity-leave catch ups with friends, no baby shower, no relatives lovingly placing their hands on your tummy in the desperate hopes of feeling a kick; It’s all been pretty alien.
I’m now nearing the end of my pregnancy and thankfully, with lockdown measures restricting, my anxiety is easing a little. That being said, it’s still very hard to adjust and turn off the worries swirling around my mind! Pregnancy insomnia is real, especially when your mind is already prone to keep you up all night with anxious thoughts. I’ve never known tiredness like it but I know my little bundle will be worth every sleepless second. I just hope Labour goes smoothly and it isn’t too difficult for Luke having to wear a face mask the whole time!
There are so many additional paths to cross this time around, that we never would have even had to consider before. I’m sure the hospital will be clean and safe but this also obviously raises concerns, I know many people are opting for home births due to Covid but this is not something I personally feel is an option.
It’s very normal to feel all kinds of emotions during pregnancy, especially due to the hormones and continuous changes your body is going through. I want to remind anyone else that struggling with your mental health before, during, or after pregnancy, makes you no less of a good parent! Please never feel ashamed to reach out for help and support. That little life you are growing needs you at your best, don’t be too scared or too proud to admit you are struggling. Everyone deserves to receive support and it does not make you any less of a mother for admitting you need some extra help!
Postnatal Depression is more commonly heard of, whereas Prenatal/Antenatal Anxiety, and Perinatal Anxiety, are not talked about as much. You can be just affected during pregnancy, as after. Especially with the added stress of the pandemic, it’s already had a devastating impact on the mental health of many people. I can only imagine this must be worse for first time parents!
It’s been a challenging 9 months but the end is in sight, and we made it through. We’re very much looking forward to normality returning soon, and to meeting our third and final arrival. And as soon as that tiny bundle is placed in my arms, it will open yet another new chain of fears and anxieties! But will be so worth it all.