Today I want to look at how it has been for us a little more personally. We came into 2020 in the unenviable position that it couldn’t possibly have been worse than 2019. You’ve got to hand it to the universe, that idea was really tested! But 2020 is the year that Bam Bam joined the good ship Hadland. Amongst the fire and brimstone of the Covid-19 pandemic this means we have still had the best year yet because our little daughter is here, healthy and happy.
Locked Down Parent: Pregnant
I started the year at nearly 21 weeks pregnant and already it was taking a significant physical toll. My body did not have much recovery time and everything that could go wrong pretty much did. A rainbow pregnancy is not fun, but chronic hip, knee and back pain really doesn’t help on top! I wasn’t confident on my bike and my bump was already getting bigger than last time – I was on the road to being housebound.
In February a new challenge arose, as I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes. A great cycle of diet change, blood sugar testing and eventually insulin followed. When lockdown hit I was forced to attend my medical appointments alone for the first time in 2 years. As I say, it wasn’t a pleasant experience at all and I don’t think I fancy dwelling on it now!
My little rainbow baby was born in May. You can read my positive birth story here. We have spent the last 8 months getting to know her. She’s a good laugh. Although the inconvenient thing about raising children is that just as you get used to raising a 3 month old, they turn into a 4 month old and do things differently. And by the time you’ve got to grips with that… Well, you get the picture.
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and most assuredly not having access to our village this year has hammered home how true that is. At home alone, the three of us have adapted our lives and our house so that I could get on with writing my book as well as keeping Thirst Media running will giving Bam Bam the best start we could. I think we can look back proudly at the year, but we have missed ready access to friends and family hugely. Advice, a friendly ear, all support has been almost completely absent and at times that has felt more isolating than the lockdown. But bringing Bam Bam up is nobody’s responsibility beyond the Boy and I anyway so it’s not the end of the world!
The pandemic has also meant very little access to healthcare. I think this is probably one of the scariest things about being a lockdown parent. Bam Bam had a touch of jaundice and lost a lot of weight when she was born which required monitoring but once that was all OK we haven’t seen or heard from our health visitor since. Some 6 months with zero contact beyond vaccination appointments.
Where are we now
Now we have a giggling, chunky, sassy little lady in our lives. She has definitely made our lives feel complete. She has her own ways, like any baby. Sometimes this makes me feel like we are going wrong, or I’m going mad. Being a lockdown parent is going slowly mad I think. But then I remember that she is an individual and our lives are not the concern of anyone else and it makes everything easier. Currently this means that I feed her to sleep for every nap and to bed, which means everything stops every two hours while she sleeps on me (and I write things like this with one hand). She goes to bed when we do, although it feels like she might consider an 8pm bedtime once her current teething trauma is out of the way. This wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for us.
Being a new parent is hard, but going against the grain makes it doubly difficult. You may have read the baby books, but your little one sure has shit hasn’t. They have no interest in what you would find convenient! Understanding that every bump in the road is just a stage that will pass helped me to accept things more readily. Trying to understand what Bam Bam wants instead of trying to make her do what I want has lead to a much more chilled Mama (most of the time). People always ask me ‘does she sleep?’ as if putting your baby away in a room and forgetting about them is the crowning achievement of parenthood. I’ve found smiling and saying ‘not really’ tends to shut them up!
We’re doing our own thing
She may not go down to sleep drowsy but awake in her own room from 7 to 7, but we are still having a helluva lot of fun. She’s joined me on wine tastings I have been giving, in person and online. We’ve been to a farm and walked with alpacas. We went on an art trail and had lunch in the pub (remember those?) We’ve had first Christmas and first teeth in the space of the last week. She smiles ALL THE TIME. She uses sign language to tell me what she needs and how she is.
I started playing peekaboo with her using a blanket and she not only picked up the game, but also picked up the blanket and started playing the game back at me. She’s got her Mama’s appetite and we haven’t found a food she doesn’t like yet (let’s hope that continues). As lockdown allows she has met as much of her family as possible, and even attended her first gig as The Boy’s band was being livestreamed.
Considering we have been in lockdown since before she was born, I think we’ve managed to keep things exciting for Bam Bam and she’s certainly kept us on our toes. Who knows what 2021 will bring – hopefully meeting her last set of grandparents when the vaccine allows, her first word, her first steps. We are a unique family, just like every other, but Bam Bam’s story is already so different. We are lockdown parents and she is our Quaranteenie.