Woman speaks on her experience of becoming a first-time mother during lockdown
- Credit: Archant
For Jade Elms, she is perhaps more fortunate than other women who became first-time mothers during the coronavirus lockdown.
“We went into lockdown while I was still pregnant,” she said. “We were at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and I must say, although they had to stick by the guidelines, they were so helpful and absolutely amazing.”
Jade, from Wisbech, gave birth to daughter Ariella on April 21 with the company of her husband Tyron, who was also allowed to attend scans and a midwife appointment beforehand.
However, Tyron was told not to support his wife at hospital from when the Covid-19 pandemic began up until the birth of his child, something that terrified Jade.
“He was able to come to the first and second scans, but after that, he was not allowed to come,” she said.
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“The nature of the scans was really scary; it was scary thinking bad news.
“They did allow my husband in after we had Ariella, but that is when it became really difficult because we were not allowed to have any family visit.”
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Jade, 25, said she never spent a prolonged time in hospital during her pregnancy, particularly once the pandemic arrived, the longest period at any one time being “six to seven hours”.
Following the birth, Jade expected the hospital to allow her husband to go with her after she fell ill, but this was not the case due to government guidelines.
“Once we came home, I needed to go back in and he was not allowed to come back with me. I would have understood if it was a different ward, but I went back into the same room a week earlier,” she said.
“It was just me and the baby. I felt unwell and was not able to look after Ariella properly. I was terrified to stay there without Tyron while everyone was still mixing.”
Looking after Ariella has been a rather different experience to how Jade and Tyron, who both work in education, imagined.
“After the first days and weeks and recovering myself, that was probably the hardest part still having to try and carry on as normal. Even making my own dinner was difficult,” Jade said.
“Ariella has not been in any shops; we don’t know how this virus will affect a newborn, so we’ve not been willing to take any risks, so one of us will wait in the car and we wash all of our shopping.”
Friends and relatives have not been able to meet Ariella in the way they would have preferred, either, with most meetings taking place through windows or gardens whilst remaining socially distanced.
But despite this and a limited chance to develop Ariella’s social skills, Jade is feeling positive.
“Friends and family wanted photos and videos all the time, so I felt pressured to do that, but not in a bad way,” she admitted.
“Baby classes were not running until September, so Ariella was not getting that social interaction that she needed, but she was really good considering she had no interaction with others.
“I think having those interactions, even through a window, have helped. She is a very happy baby.”
Jade has been supporting the #ButNotMaternity movement, a national campaign that aims to ease restrictions on partners and family members attending births, scans and other appointments throughout a pregnancy during the pandemic.
Since documenting her journey as a mother on Instagram, she has learnt about how other women have gone through pregnancy alone, and the campaign has been backed by those including MPs to change the guidelines surrounding maternity care.
Jade never felt life would dramatically change from when they held a gender reveal at her wedding last December, but is optimistic that in time, other women will not endure the same experience she did.
“I felt overwhelmed with worry, so I really hope this movement goes somewhere and change guidelines,” she said.
“My experience has made me scared to have another baby in case I would be on my own again. I want the guidelines to change so new parents don’t have to go through what I did.”