Giving birth in a lockdown
2000 babies are born each day in the UK. That’s a lot of babies born in lockdown. With the surge of coronavirus expected in the next two weeks, our NHS and hospitals and pharmacists and carers are doing the most amazing job. The 8pm claps can’t help but bring a tear to our eyes – even in a sleepy Rutland village last night, the pots and pans were clanging in harmony with the applause and woops. Let’s hope that doctors never again have to lobby for a pay rise. And that society will finally realign to recognise and reward the people and services we all need the most
At times like these when coronavirus threatens our health and shrinks are horizons, when lives have been paired back to the essentials, when time takes on a new meaning, many of us are reflecting on what we’ve got.
Hey, what have I got?
Yeah, what have I got
Nobody can take away?
Sung our namesake and brand inspiration Nina Simone.
Got my hair, got my head
Got my brains, got my ears
Got my eyes, got my nose
Got my mouth, I got my smile
I got my tongue, got my chin
Got my neck, got my boobies
Got my heart, got my soul
It’s our bodies and soul that make us who we are!
For the many pregnant women and expecting couples right now they’re thinking more about their bodies than most of us. My sister and brother-in-law are expecting their first baby soon (Oli and I are so excited to be aunty and uncle). Whilst today we’re all rejoicing at news of a positive scan, it’s an understatement to say it’s far from the birth experience they had anticipated. The same will be true for many others - if lockdown continues until the end of May that’s a whopping 100,000 newborn babies born under these unprecedented circumstances. Forget the new baby gifts or what we should be getting from that newborn list, we’re all more concerned about the health of a new baby born during a global pandemic.
Coronavirus has tipped things upside down for many couples. For some, birth plans are out the window; everyone in the labour ward is kitted out in visors and masks; partners can only be around for several hours; friends and family cannot meet the baby given isolation; and antenatal and postnatal classes and services have been reduced. Our 8pm claps are equally for the nurses and midwives and other NHS workers delivering these babies safely.
Despite this being such a challenging time to have a baby, there are some wonderful birth stories emerging.
I couldn’t help but smile at one couple’s idea to display their newborn baby outside their home like Simba in the Lion King to introduce her to the neighbours. Another story that made me laugh with joy was that of the first baby born at home in isolation, summarized perfectly by the new father, Mr Edrenius: “It escalated quite quickly. I’m on the phone and suddenly a head pops out.”
Yes there’s a global pandemic but to state the obvious - babies are still being born. A lot of them!
We’re putting all the hope and positivity out into the world for everyone due to give birth during this period of isolation and the uncertain months to follow. I keep coming back to the wise words of Winnie the Pooh that my mum has stuck on the edge of a cookery book propped up in a corner of the kitchen.