You’re pregnant! Thoughts flood your mind of how this amazing, single biggest transformation that your body will probably undergo will feel, will be like and how the delivery will go, how your postnatal recovery will go, and how you’ll be bonding with all those other first or second time mummies that you’ve met on your antenatal journey!
But then 2020 kicks in, coronavirus arrives, and suddenly left right and centre everything is cancelled. Face to face antenatal classes, NCT teaching, bonding with new mums, your medical appointments to check on baby and mum are brief, and generally sharing your birthing and new baby experience is literally interrupted by lockdown and the stay at home message is clear. “ Stay home, save lives, protect the NHS”.
So we all do, but as a pregnant mum approaching birth, your birthing plan goes out the window, and worries set in. You may give birth alone without your partner, you certainly won’t have had the social experience on the ward as keeping yourself to yourself is the need, and then discharge home ASAP to protect from the virus.
So you arrive home, daunted, tired and delighted by your new bundle of joy! Hopefully, the midwife arrives to check on you and guides you through the new experience of feeding your baby, checking on your postnatal recovery and supporting you with whatever your needs may be.
Maybe all went according to plan, a birth uncompromised, and being a new mum is something you take to like a duck to water as the expression goes. You may have the lovely experience that your partner is home way more than they would usually be, and the bonding time as a new family is amazing and something you will be forever grateful for. You’ve got less pressure to be out, to attend this and that, and can structure your day with what works for you. Grandparents will have to meet the new family member over a video call. That bonding and delighting in showing friends your newborn, and sharing your experience with your antenatal group can’t happen in person.
It’s overwhelming for anyone having a newborn, let alone being alone!
The isolation, loneliness, worries, relentless, tiredness and lack of support can kick in. Motherhood itself is a shared experience, of “ oo does your baby do this “ or “ I can’t seem to do this, how you managing? “. Face to face meetups allows these worries to be diminished, answered, supported and helped. But not in 2020/1. We’re all in the same house for hours on end, yes the once a day walk for exercise allows you to walk with the baby and a friend with their baby, and you can try to get into that all desired routine with new baby, but life doesn’t always work according to plan. Many have moved house, maybe they know no one where they now are and the struggles with recovery are added to.
What can you do to help with all these feelings?
- Try to leave the house once a day for a walk with baby in a buggy – a change of scene works wonders.
- Wear comfortable clothes that you feel loved in and cosy – comfort and warmth while your body heals is invaluable.
- Drink lots of water and eat simple healthy foods – nourish and replenish your body – no need for complex recipes as a new mum!
- Try to connect with people – share experiences as you can, telephone, FaceTime, zoom whatever – but talk! Doesn’t matter to who, just talk and you’ll be amazed how much lighter your load feels after sharing and realising that others are in the same boat.
- Treat yourself – a bath, half an hour to lie and chill, half an hour to read a book, leave your partner to look after baby ( allow the baby to bond with someone other than just you for half an hour a day)
- Try to do some gentle exercises each day on top of your walk – exercise is hugely beneficial for stimulating blood flow, tissue healing, muscle activation and relaxation, and for giving you a sense of well being.
- Seek help to treat if needs be but for reassurance and guidance.
But sometimes just sometimes, things haven’t gone according to plan. The delivery wasn’t straight forward, recovery isn’t how you thought, the baby isn’t behaving as you thought they would, you are struggling to deal with all your tasks as well as looking after a baby and maybe partner being there but always working doesn’t actually give you so much support. During this year I’ve met many mums who’ve felt their experience hasn’t been as they hoped for, they are concerned re how they are, they need reassurance that actually all is ok and they can start to do some exercise, they need that reassurance as to what they can best do to help themselves and specific exercises and treatment to help them on their way.
Maybe you have aches and pains, tears or wounds that are worrying you, your abdomen still seems to be unable to function as a muscle, your tummy muscles still seem to be separated or you have back or neck pain that means you hurt each time you lift the baby.
Seek help and we can alleviate your worries, and put your mind at rest.
I am able to offer a Mummy MOT service where we can assess, discuss and treat as well as support you with any of your concerns or needs. Or if you have aches and pains, I can see you for Physiotherapy assessment and treatment. I love meeting people, listening to your stories of pregnancy and childbirth, and guiding people to optimise their recovery while reassuringly providing people with the support, advice and exercise that might just make things manageable.
I aim to give you the understanding that actually you are an amazing mum and can be even better with help!
Please contact me, Sandra Watts at Rodger Duckworth Physiotherapy Practice on 01189 786149 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further information. More details can be found on our website.