It takes a village to raise a child, except in a pandemic
Updated: Nov 11, 2020
Well, I never thought I’d be writing a title like that. No matter what your situation, Covid-19 has made quite the impact on all of our lives in one way or another. For me, the effect it has had over the last six months has only really started to dawn on me now; with my son having just turned one, I am reflecting on the last few months of motherhood.
There is of course so much to say about the devastating effect coronavirus has had for so many people. But today I am focussing specifically on how it has impacted on parents, particularly those of young children.
The first few months of parenthood are perhaps one of the most rewarding, but utterly exhausting, times of your life. For centuries, humans as a species have been reliant on a large support network to help out with the raising of children. It is still common in many parts of the world for several generations to live in a close knit community, who all help look after the newest members of the family.
But with the arrival of Covid-19, this idea has been threatened, if not completely abandoned, for many new parents across the world. Those extended visits from your own parents to offer much needed support, guidance and reassurance, or friends coming over to watch your little one so you can have a shower and a cup of tea, all came to an abrupt end with announcements of lockdown and restrictions on movement.
If you are a parent reading this, how are you doing? Are you ok?
For me personally, my maternity leave has not been the whirlwind of baby groups and meet ups with newfound mum mates that I anticipated. However, I am extremely fortunate to have had my husband working from home and that we have been able to spend more time together as a family. This has been a blessing during such a strange time.
As humans, we are social beings. We thrive when we work together. And the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” exists for a reason. That support network is vital whatever age your child is.
I have been thinking of all the parents who had babies born during the strictest part of lockdown, who didn’t get the support of their families in those life-changing first few weeks and months. Postnatal depression affects more than 1 in 10 women within the first year of giving birth – it would be interesting to see if this figure rose under the strain of bringing a new life into a world where loved ones could only see that life through a window to start with.
The first few months (actually, it's never super easy I suppose) are hard, so if you are finding things tough, help yourself by:
Being kind to yourself. It doesn't matter that you haven't cleaned the house today. You are the world to your child and that's all that matters.
Trying and get as much rest as possible (I know, it's laughable, but try!)
Eating well. The food we eat can have a massive effect on how we feel so try and nourish yourself with good stuff.
If you are a parent (or anyone for that matter) and you feel fed up (insert more explicit word of choice here!) with living in a pandemic then you’re not alone. If you need to talk to someone, please reach out to a trusted person close to you, your GP or health visitor. It is ok to not be ok during these weird times, but do seek out support if you need it.
Hoping we can get back to normal normal soon.
Sending love to everyone out there, especially the new parents! It really does take a village.