Lockdown stole my Baby

Image credit: Hollie Santos on Unsplash

I was pregnant and nobody saw.

Nobody stopped me to ask ‘oh is this your first?’, for me to enjoy the mixed reactions of shock and awe when I said ‘nope, my fifth!’. Nobody said ‘oh your bump is beautiful’ for me to say ‘oh thanks, I’m knackered already!’. There was nobody for me to show the kicks, the hiccoughs, the alien like wriggling. There was nobody to ask if I knew what I was having, for me to enjoy telling them that we have an heir line of over 135 years with all men. I love telling that one! Nobody saw my glow. All I saw were tired bags, unwashed hair and I was so alone with the pain of this never ending, isolating pregnancy.

Of course I didn’t get pregnant for everyone else. But it’s all of those things that make the harder, shittier parts of being pregnant, less hard and shitty, right? Yes it’s beautiful and amazing, but it’s also a bit crap at times too. Sleepless nights, relentless back ache. Fanny daggers…F me those take you down quicker than Bambi on ice. Moaning about it over a hot chocolate to your sister helps.

There were no cakes. Because cake is life in pregnancy. No café lunches, squeezing dessert in just because you can. There were no friends picking up a little gift because it made them think of you. No baby showers, no pregnancy massages because restless legs are a bitch. No days walking around beautiful baby stores picking up little bits and bobs in the excitement of meeting your baby.

I had a baby and nobody knew.

Nobody messaged constantly asking if there was any news yet. No great build up of it being any day now. Instead, constant fear of what the hell would happen during labour if the baby ever decided to leave. I mean, at times I prayed he wouldn’t because this world, this life, was too much. He was safe in there. I worried for what the anxiety was doing to my unborn baby. I cried over the choices I thought I didn’t have any more. This wasn’t ANYTHING like you imagine it be. Not even close. Hospitals felt terrifying, labouring alone – no fucking thank you!

As it happened, I rocked labour. I was incredible. It was amazing. I was very fortunate in my labour and the way it all happened. I was on cloud nine. But I couldn’t tell Granny about it. I didn’t meet up with Abby for lunch and relive the high as I detailed the incredible gore and beamed with pride over how awesome I was.

I did this AMAZING thing. I grew an entire human and then birthed him out an obscenely small orifice and dammit I deserved the comments – ‘oh wow that’s awesome’. I didn’t get to tell Mrs Whoknows in the middle of asda that he weighed 6lb 6oz, my smallest yet. I didn’t get to show aunty Sandra the he definitely was blonde and the pictures didn’t show it. I couldn’t let Grandad hold him and smell his gorgeous little head.

There were no weigh in clinics for me to gloat at what I’d managed to accomplish with my boobs despite tongue tie and reflux, nor have a cry about all the extra feeds. The tongue tie clinic didn’t even get back to me about our referral. I didn’t go to groups for other mums to admire his little outfit, to recognise his new skill of sucking his toes, or point out the change in his face shape. I didn’t get to moan about the night feeds or show off my new sling. These things matter. They do. We feel better, we offload, we change scenery, we thrive in solidarity.

And do you know what lockdown stole the most – my gratitude. Don’t tell me I should be grateful, and what for. I don’t have to be grateful for the things I do have. I am not ungrateful. I am not a shitty person for saying that I am not in the slightest bit grateful that lockdown stole my baby. My time. The quickest time that will ever pass, the moments that will never come back, the memories that cannot be replaced. I am not grateful. I am sad. I am anxious. I am depressed. I am alone. I no longer have a newborn for the world to see. He doesn’t smell like a newborn anymore. I don’t have a glow any more. I have a beautiful 6 month old baby and a mountain of emotions I cannot deal with because my entire support system is gone. And no, it is not awful of me to moan about this. It has absolutely nothing to do with my feelings or opinions on lockdown itself, and is not being ignorant to what all of that means. This is solely about what thousands of mothers like myself are feeling. And feelings are valid. Feelings deserve to be acknowledged.

Feel away Mama. I hear you x

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