To the new mums during COVID-19

Words by Jaimie Bloch, Clinical Psychologist – MindMovers Psychology

Having a baby during this unfortunate world crisis is not something many if any of us have gone through in the last 100 years. To the new mums who are in the midst of a newborn or pregnant and giving birth in the next few months, you are part of a collective of parents who are navigating this new world with a new soul! Our babies, like the world, can be unpredictable and outside our control.  This means that you cannot control the fact we must all socially distance, limit our time going out to the shops, not take part in a mother and baby circle and not have the joys of spending alone time for a few months with your baby. This will inevitably feel hard, difficult and bring about a sense of grief and loss. Grief because you are not getting the experience you were so looking forward to, loss of what you were hoping for. 

We know new mums and dads are finding this hard to cope with because National mothers support group ‘Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Australia (PANDA)’ has seen a dramatic increase in calls for help from soon-to-be-parents and new mothers and fathers seeking support.

This idea of ‘uncertainty’ is not new to humans. We often try to fit life into specific boxes and narratives, about how things should be. Like most parents, we all know too well that life doesn’t go according to plan and that we often have to adjust our expectations. The current plight for new parents is sad, it is hard, it is unfair. However, we cannot control this pandemic. We cannot change right now that things are changing. What we can control is how we approach this period of great uncertainty. We can loosen our rigid stories and bend our specific expectations we have towards our children and babies. This means being kinder to yourself and allowing things to be as they are, learning to flow with change instead of resisting it.

Deconstructing our old set of beliefs and narratives is going to be hard. There will be days where you are angry and resentful at your current situation, but there will be days where you embrace it and feel re-energised. Anything new is hard, especially as these things require you to be flexible, available and calm. It can be hard to see our babies go through change and feel distressed. Even our littlest of littlest are impacted by this pandemic! At first, it will be very uncomfortable, letting all these things go and changing up any routine you had planned to create. You may feel like you are failing as a mother for not sticking to your “rules.” This at first will create significant additional stress during an already stressful time. We as humans love predictability and we use schedules, rules and specific narratives about ourselves and others to keep aspects of our lives controllable, but our children are not robots and the world is not a machine.

This is a time of loss and grief, but it is a time of letting go. Letting go of the ‘old’ and embracing the ‘new’. You can be sad, you can be mad. Your emotions are valid, your experience is real. Your baby is part of this change, your baby is being born and raised in a once in a hundred year pandemic. Your heart will ache for them but remember this: 

“Life is full and overflowing with the new. But it is necessary to empty out the old to make room for the new to enter” – Eileen Caddy. 

Our baby won’t get the alone time with us, but they are getting to experience, engage and connect to their entire family all at once. Their siblings will get to experience and see them moment by moment and be part of this. Their other loved ones and care-givers afforded the opportunity to be a vital and connected part of their day to day living. Remember, babies don’t have the same stories and narratives that we do as adults. They naturally are flexible and embrace the new, they are new to this world! But we do know they feed off their parents energy. When you are feeling down and sad embrace the things that are possible now, that were not prior to this pandemic. See the opportunities, the love and the deep connections that can be created in your home with your baby, and your baby with their siblings and other caregivers. 

After all, it is in the unknown and the uncertainty where we find possibility. This is the world we want to share with our children and our babies— one where anything is possible and where opportunity is found and used to create the moments of joy, love and bliss. 

Words by Jaimie Bloch, Clinical Psychologist – MindMovers Psychology