In November 2019, my husband and I found out that we were pregnant, and in December got the news that we were having a little girl! How exciting it was and we ‘surprised’ our families back in Manila with the news on Christmas Eve. Plans were made for our parents to come to Melbourne to meet their soon to be newest addition to their grandchildren list.
But, as we all know, nothing was normal in the year that followed. Flights were cancelled, borders were closed. Even moreso, Melbourne was in lockdown with very few reasons to come out, and a 5km radius limit to where you can go.
I was lucky that during my birth, the restrictions still allowed for my husband to be with me in the birthing suite. Armed with midwives, epidural and a strong grip on my husband’s hand, our baby girl came into the world after 12 hours of [induced] labour.
Nothing prepared me for the first few weeks of having a baby. I guess I didn’t realise it even though I’ve lived with a newborn before, my niece, as there were many people in that household at that time to take turns minding the baby. With just my husband and I in COVID iso, things were much more crazy difficult.
However, I did feel that we were lucky that we were in Australia as the support we received with the health system was fantastic.
I’ve never really understood before when they say, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I do now, even though my ‘village’ is admittedly just online for now.
I am very lucky to have a very supportive and mature husband, who is actually much more prepared mentally for all the hardships than I think I was. Baby blues aside, there was too much psychological barriers and ideals that I had about caring for bubs. No matter how many times I read an article that says I have to lower my standards, I couldn’t.
I wanted to cook. I wanted to clean my house. I wanted to take care of my husband. I couldn’t. For the first few weeks I was stuck with baby. I couldn’t do anything. Heck, I couldn’t even brush my hair. I definitely have forgotten to brush my teeth at times.
A month into it, we have come to an agreement for me to have a day off to myself as I was spiralling into some sort of depression. Of all the things I am careful about, it’s post-natal depression. For my sanity I have requested Saturdays to be my grocery day, do something I used to do or want to try. On my first Saturday, I did…nothing. I was lost. I didn’t know where to start. I didn’t know who I was. I broke down.
The outside world was sad and weary from the lockdown. It was starting to feel rather isolating.
Again and every time when I cry out of frustration and exhaustion, I never was prepared for this much. With gritted teeth, I said over and over again, “this too shall pass.”
We’re three months in now and my baby is growing beautifully. We have gone through so much and yet continue to learn. I’m wishing all parents of COVID babies the strength and resilience in this trying time. Parenthood was never meant to be easy, but a global pandemic is adding hurdles to it.
This post is a little bit all over the place, I know. My mum brain is on.