Yesterday was not a great day for me, I admit. It was week five of lockdown, gone midday and I wasn’t even dressed. I wasn’t even thinking about getting dressed. Rock bottom levels of motivation, sky high levels of anxiety and a complete absence of ‘me’ time creating a perfect storm for a mini ‘self-isolation meltdown’. Still too early for wine, even by my standards, so an entire pack of kitkats would have to do. Not a pretty sight.
It’s hardly news that self-isolation is putting a huge strain on everyone, but who knew how dramatically my emotions would swing from
‘I’ve got this! I’m a superwoman!’
‘aagghh help me; I literally cannot cope!’.
It’s a vast and unpredictable daily spectrum at the moment; overwhelm, anxiety, guilt, joy, gratitude and hope – and it’s anyone’s guess which emotion will arise at any point. A supersize emotional lottery, right? Exhausting.
I feel pretty bad to make the comparison, but it actually reminded me of how I felt when our first son was born by emergency c-section (in the time before I’d discovered hypnobirthing or knew about positive caesarean birth prep).
Those first few weeks at home brought a range of feelings.
I remember the overwhelm of clumsily grappling with the demands of a new baby (I’ve always been a 10 hours sleep kinda gal!) and the anxiety that he wasn’t putting on weight (no one told me that motherhood brings with it a life-long obsession about what your kids eat).
I remember the sadness I felt that the situation wasn’t as perfect as I had planned and then I piled a whole load of guilt on top – just for good measure.
A bunch of pretty rubbish feelings – and mostly I told no one about them.
And then, mixed in with all of the blues were the absolute highs – so much joy and gratitude to have our little man safely at home and so much love for that tiny new person. Like, insane amounts of love.
Also, a hope that every day would get easier.
And you know what, my friend, it did. Every day was a small but mighty step forward in the right direction.
It did get easier, and it absolutely will for you too.
The days of new motherhood can sometimes seem longer and tougher than that 10k run you did absolutely no training for. So with a pandemic turning up the volume on all of these emotions, new parents everywhere are doing an extraordinary job and I want you to all high-five yourselves immediately. You absolutely rule and I have so much respect for every single one of you.
Today, 12 kitkats down, I’m feeling hopeful, just like I did when my first son was born six years ago.
I’m know that better days for everyone are right around the corner. One day at a time we will all get there and I’m here right beside you, cheering you on.
So, tell me, how about you? How are you feeling? I’d love to know how you are and what have been your highs and lows of new motherhood during a pandemic. Comment below or join the conversation on Instagram @birthsure.
Here are some resources that can help if you do feel it’s all getting too much or if you feel you might be suffering from postnatal depression. It can feel incredibly daunting to raise your hand and ask for your help, I know, but early support is really important. Know you are not alone.
GP, Obstetrician, Midwifery and Health Visitor Services: they can organise the right support for you and your family.
Perinatal Positivity: https://perinatalpositivity.org/
Best Beginnings: https://www.bestbeginnings.org.uk/out-of-the-blue
PANDAS Foundation: http://www.pandasfoundation.org.uk/
Action on Post-Partum Psychosis – https://www.app-network.org/
Association for Postnatal Illness: https://apni.org/leaflets/post-natal-depression/
PND and Me on Twitter: #PNDHour