Becoming a new mum is joyous, overwhelming, and terrifying at times and the last year has only exacerbated the issues which affect thousands of new mothers such as isolation and loneliness. In this blog series, we’re speaking to mums who have welcomed a baby in the pandemic to hear about the highs and lows of their experiences and how National Lottery funded projects have supported them.
A Pandemic Pregnancy
Jennifer Rankin, 34, from Knightswood, Glasgow, is mum to Daniel, 2, and had baby, Andrew, in October 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.
Jennifer found out that she and her and partner were expecting just after returning to work from maternity leave with son, Daniel.
Jennifer told us: “It was a bit of a shock. A month after finding out about the baby, I was shielding in lockdown with Daniel. Kevin, my husband, is a community nurse and so he was still having to go to work.
“My lockdown pregnancy was horrible. I suffered with terrible morning sickness while having to continue to work from home as a primary school teacher, whilst looking after Daniel who was unable to go to nursery.
“I felt I was being asked to split myself into so many pieces while battling sickness and tiredness in my first trimester, which all led to awful mum guilt.
“The upside though was that I was able to spend so much time with Daniel before Andrew arrived. We walked everywhere, with his walker and then without as his confidence grew – and I was there to see it all.”
Jennifer’s pregnancy was classed ‘high risk’ after delivery complications with her firstborn, meaning she needed extra scans. As a result of the pandemic, in the first lockdown partners were only allowed in for 12 and 20 week scans meaning Jennifer had to attend her growth scans alone.
Jennifer added: “I sat, sobbing, surrounded by people with partners while I waited to have an anomaly scan of my baby while Kevin waited outside for over an hour.”
Giving birth during a pandemic
Like many mums who had a baby during the pandemic, the isolating factor of going through medical appointments, the starting stages of birth and staying in afterwards alone affected Jennifer.
Jennifer said: “As for my delivery, I was induced, so Kevin dropped me off and picked me up when I was contracting and asked to come in. Until then, Kevin had to wait in the car. I was then kept overnight to wait for a labour suite, so Kevin had to choose between going home or waiting in the car as nobody knew when I would be taken down. Luckily, it wasn’t until the morning and Kevin arrived just in time.
“Both the midwife and Kevin wore face masks throughout the labour, with Kevin only taking his off when we were alone with our baby at the end.
“I was taken to a ward and Kevin was sent home, which was the norm when I had Daniel too, but what was not the norm was being all alone on the ward. Andrew was taken away for his checks, and I had to wear a mask if I went anywhere like the toilet.
A different start to motherhood
Jennifer said: “I thought being a second time mum, I would be much calmer this time round, however worrying about midwives, health visitors, Kevin coming in from shops and the chance of contamination – was horrific. I struggled to allow Daniel to play in parks, and still do. This wee baby is so precious and the idea he might get ill from COVID terrified me.
How 3D Drumchapel supported Jennifer
National Lottery funded 3D Drumchapel were able to support Jennifer as she became a mum of ‘two under two’ by helping her connect with other mums and build her confidence up after the fears and concerns of the pandemic.
Jennifer said: “A huge struggle, that continues in this house, is entertaining Daniel. He’s an active toddler and being on my own with two under two was not easy.
“That’s where 3D came in. We have joined in with their online classes and activities but their outdoor learning time in the woods was an absolute God send for us. It got me out of the house, Daniel got to run and see other children and I got to chat with other mums, some of whom had the same age gap as me and issues.
“I had gone to lots of classes and events with Daniel and I have to say that even though everything has had to change and adapt – the service is still incredible, if not better.”
As for Jennifer’s advice for other mums…
“My advice to mums is to find the good in every day. It’s hard, really hard, some days but if you only look for the hard times you miss out on the everyday wee things. Oh, and don’t forget everything is a phase and will pass!”
You can find out more about 3D Drumchapel and their incredible support on their website.