For a long time I have dreamed about getting pregnant and becoming a mum. In my wildest dreams, never did I expect my experience to be quite like this. I thought I would share my experience of pregnancy during a worldwide pandemic and the positives and the negatives of an already challenging journey!
Family and friends don’t get to see your growing bump
One of the things that was fairly hard initially, when we were in full lock down, was that we couldn’t spend time with our family and friends so no one got to see my growing bump and we didn’t get to talk and be excited together about everything that was to come as we might have done if we could meet freely. Now we are able to meet slightly more, I feel like I’ve suddenly appeared with a massive belly, there was no easing into it!
No one asks (or doesn’t ask) to touch your bump
Although it’s been hard not being able to share the journey with family and friends in the way we wanted to, it’s actually been great for me to avoid physical contact. I’m really not a hugger or a toucher and I know when you’re pregnant, everyone just wants to get their hands on that bump! I know a lot of people would have asked first so I could have politely declined, but I also know that sometimes people don’t ask and this way it saves the awkwardness!
You have to go to scans and midwife appointments alone
I think one of the hardest things for me has been having to go to my appointments and especially scans alone. Getting to see your baby wriggling around inside you is supposed to be such a milestone moment for new parents to be and I imagine, usually quite an emotional one. For me it was a bit strange because as excited as I was to see our little baby was safe and happy squirming around in my tummy, I just felt a bit flat that my partner wasn’t there to share in the excitement. I’ve had three NHS scans which I have had to attend alone and each time there’s been that flat feeling of wishing my partner was able to experience it with me, showing him a photo doesn’t seem to quite cut it. Luckily, we were able to book a private scan to find out the gender and he was able to attend with me so he has been able to see our baby girl wriggling around in my tummy and it was definitely a more special experience than going alone.
You get extra time to enjoy pregnancy with your partner
Now this may just be me, I’ve been working from home and my partner has been furloughed so he’s been around a LOT more. Before I got pregnant he was working in London and I was living in Cambridge so we only saw each other at the weekends. Having him off work has meant he’s been here to experience so much more of my pregnancy than he might have done otherwise. Although he hasn’t been able to come into the scans, he’s driven me to each one and been with me for all of the telephone appointments. He’s been around to feel the first big kicks and see my belly growing, although it may not be the pregnancy experience I would have picked, this has definitely been a silver lining for me.
You can’t go to all the cute baby shops, antenatal classes and mummy to be meet ups
This one is becoming less of an issue as rules are relaxed. Most shops are now open and I believe a few groups are starting to resume face to face meet ups. I found shopping online at first really difficult because there’s some things you just want to see in person like prams, car seats and tiny adorable clothes.
Luckily the shops started opening just before my 20 week scan so it meant we were able to go out and do a lot of the shopping we wanted to do after we found out the gender. Not all shops are open though and shopping isn’t the same as it was before. We booked a personal shopping appointment at Mamas and papas and I would highly recommend it. They are currently offering the appointments free of charge and you book an appointment for before the shop opens to the public. It was stress free and a great chance to look at all the prams and car seats without worrying about how close you are to other people.
Although most antenatal classes and mummy meets up’s are still not happening as they were, there are amazing online communities of mums that you can join to chat and share experiences with. I’ve joined a couple of facebook groups for mums due at the same time and first time mums and there’s also apps like peanut and mush which are worth checking out if you’re interested in chatting with and meeting other mums. Another great thing is that a lot of antenatal and parenting classes are being offered online for a reduced price or even free. It’s definitely worth checking online to see if they’re any virtual classes that you’re interested in and, generally, you don’t even have to get out of your pyjamas!
Limited time for birth partners to be at the hospital during birth
Something that I’m increasingly worried about (although trying to keep positive and hopeful about!) is that the birth partner is still not allowed into the hospital until you are in established labour and only for a set time period after birth. I’m looking into and leaning towards the idea of a home birth because it would take away this as one of my major stresses for birth, however if there’s an emergency situation and intervention is required or I have to be induced for any reason, this won’t be possible and it does worry me slightly. I understand the reasons and I appreciate that the NHS are under huge amounts of stress but it does feel like something that is being taken away from birth partners that they will never get back and it’s stressful for women who are giving birth knowing that they may have to go parts of it alone!
Working from home
This one actually came as a surprise blessing! There are a million reasons why I prefer working from home (not having to wake up so early, cuddling my puppy and saving £££ on petrol just to name a few) but what I hadn’t considered was how good it would be to work from home during pregnancy. I suffered quite badly with ‘morning’ sickness – I usually use air quotes when I say morning sickness because it was very much not just a morning thing! I was throwing up on and off from around 8 weeks all the way until almost 20, I still get a lot of nausea now but less actually being sick. Not having to be in an office where you have to wait for the toilet to be free or risk tripping over someone or something when running from your desk to the toilet was definitely a godsend! We also only have one toilet in our office so I can only imagine how things may have gone down!
I’ve also felt tired and rubbish for most of my pregnancy so not having to get dressed and put make up on or make small talk has been quite the treat. I know this hasn’t been the case for everyone but those of us that have been able to work from home during the pandemic whilst we’re pregnant, I would say we’ve been super lucky!
What have been your biggest challenges or blessings to being pregnant during the pandemic?
Love, Alice and bump x