Guest Blog by Katie – A first time Mum
Finding out that you’re pregnant is not an unusual event. However, what is unusual is finding out that you’re pregnant during a global pandemic.
I found out I was expecting my first child on 14th April 2020 – right in the thick of a national lockdown, bringing with it some unique uncertainties!
Nobody can prepare you for the whirlwind of emotions you experience as you read the word ‘pregnant’ on the stick.
As a first time mum, I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Who do you need to tell? Where do you go? What should I be doing? What shouldn’t I be doing? Is our house big enough? Can we really afford to get married now? So many questions fly around your head and you start feeling like you need to read up on everything! I assume these reactions are quite normal, but on top of all those questions, the realisation that we were experiencing a global pandemic and undergoing a national lockdown, whilst I was pregnant, caused a cloud of anxiety to descend upon me.
This was all brand new, and no mums I know have been through this so the usual experiences can’t be shared. My best advice to any new mum is to read the NHS website – there is so much information out there to read and so many people have advice and recommendations, but it can get quite overwhelming, especially if you are feeling anxious. If you stick to the NHS advice, you know you will be doing the right thing, and always call your midwife if you are feeling worried. Mine was great!
Despite lockdown it was still exciting to share the wonderful news with our parents. Although we were unable to see them in person – thank goodness for FaceTime! As the first few weeks went on, however, the realities of the real world were still very prevalent. It was hard when even though we could see loved ones and friends from a distance, we were unable to hug and celebrate.
As any other mother would do, I rang the doctors to inform them I was pregnant and made a booking appointment for about a week later, which was to be taken on the phone.
Feeling slightly apprehensive and quite isolated already, I was gutted I wasn’t able to see anyone in person but I tried to remain positive. To me, it felt like ages until my booking appointment arrived; I was desperate to speak to a professional who would understand what I was going through as a first time mum, and to speak to someone about what was happening in the world and what it meant to be pregnant at this time. I needed reassurance that everything was going to be okay. In the end, the booking appointment was fine and my midwife was lovely, calm and reassuring.
Although the booking appointment went well, we were again reminded of the global pandemic’s impact when we were told that my partner would be unable to visit the hospital with me for the 12-week scan. This felt pretty devastating. Firstly, I wanted to experience seeing our baby for the first time with him, and secondly, what if there was something wrong and I would have had to deal with it alone?
Once the phone call was over, I cried. A lot. I think it was the weight of all the thoughts and emotions I was carrying… and probably the fact that I was growing a baby and my hormones were raging! This really got to me and I did feel scared; it was a fear of the unknown about what was to come in my pregnancy (as any normal woman would feel), a fear of the unknown about what was going to happen with the virus and where it was going to lead us, and a fear of the unknown about what both of those things together meant for me and my baby. However, I was adamant he would be there at the first scan with me.
It was not an experience I was willing to give up because of coronavirus – so I did some research and managed to book a private scan where you and one other person from the same household could be with you! It was a small victory in this challenging environment for a pregnant woman.
Luckily, things changed for our official 20-week scan at the hospital and my partner was able to join. However, we had to wait separately and once I was in the room, it took him about 5 minutes to join us by the time they’d called him and he’d found where to go so he missed the first part!
As I progress with my pregnancy, mentally things are so much better now. There are huge life changes because of our baby and a crazy global virus affecting every aspect of life really did make the beginning of my pregnancy harder than I’d ever imagined. But, despite this, it is the most exciting time. We are feeling kicks regularly and starting to see little movements through my tummy.
What will be will be – there isn’t anything we can do about the current situation and we will just have to face each hurdle as we come across them. One uncertainly that still looms above us is whether my partner will be able to be in the hospital when the baby is due mid-December. It is a worry, and a fear, but I have faith in the NHS and our support network is fantastic. Our bundle of joy will arrive either way it just might be slightly different for us!
If you feel you’re struggling at all – reach out to anyone you trust. That might be a friend, partner, family member, or even a health professional. Make sure you’re not suffering alone, because you are not alone.
Onwards and upwards to the next part of the adventure, even if it is in a global pandemic.