When the coronavirus took hold, we moved our activities online to Zoom. It’s had pros and cons. One plus is it’s enabled mothers from many different places to particpate, or for those who are working during the day to join an evening session, which we had never run before. Or for those with older children, who we can’t always accommodate, to be included. The biggest disadvantage is that we can’t be there to bring the participants a cup of tea, to hold their baby, or to give them an encouraging pat on the arm. There are a myriad examples of supportive body language, of the solidarity and focus we can bring to a real life session that don’t translate to the screen. And we have noticed an increase in mothers finding the situation difficult. Becoming a mother is already an unbelievable shock. To enter this new life, robbed of contact with those outside your immediate household, well, it’s no wonder they feel overwhelmed. Two of our facilitators, Heidi and Caroline, penned these pieces in our reflective practice session, based on all the mothers they have seen…
‘Mother in COVID-19’ By Caroline
You are lonely and isolated. Nowhere to go.
Sometimes I think “lucky you” to have the pressure off leaving the house to go to baby groups to meet others who will tell you stories of their child’s development and you are spared feelings of inadequacy.
But then, I really think about YOU and see your shock, your wide eyes and loneliness.
The walls close in when you have a newborn and you become a mother. The world closes in even more during a global pandemic.
No chinks of daylight to break up the routine, no-one to share stories with, about how tired you are and how confused you feel – joyously happy, exhausted, worn out, worn down.
Stuck at home. Your birth was probably horrendous. Lockdown, locked out. The trauma you probably felt.
Did your midwife wear a mask? Could you see their face when you were at your most vulnerable?
Could your partner be with you?
Did you have more procedures because birth had to be more tightly managed, so resources could be organised in a certain way, during a pandemic? Could you process your birth afterwards with anyone?
And you, a different mother, a mother of an older child… I see you.
Coming to terms with the traumatic early start you had with your little one… Could you see anyone for birth story support when the pandemic struck and you had a toddler? Is this why you are just processing your birth story now, just as your little one starts school?
Mothers, we see you…
Lockdown Mum’ by Heidi
Trapped, alone, on my own.
Bars on windows, locks on doors.
Let me out, free me from this insanity.
Free me, let people see me.
No masks, no tears, please hear me.
Let me scream. I can’t scream.
I want to scream, but can’t.
In fear I’ll wake the beast.
The beast that is my child.
What am I saying?!
Oh my God, I am their mum.
I love them.
I hate myself.
The thought I just had.
I’m such a bad mum.
Someone hear me,
Covid mums, we are a new and desperate breed.
Not a single preparation book to read.
I am alone,
We are alone.
Help me please.