I’m really grateful for the comments people left on yesterday’s post, especially since taking care of the baby doesn’t afford me much time to go and interact with other blogs and I’ve not been great about even reading other people’s blogtober entries. Thank you all, you are much appreciated.
But more than that, several of you highlighted an important point. During the first few months of the pandemic, isolation was tough… but doable. But it’s been way, way longer than that. My work contracts all got postponed at the end of February and I am still not in a position to return, so I’ve been off work since then. That’s 8 months that we’ve been living this weird existence, and places like the UK are going into lockdown yet again. This is hard.
You know what’s also hard? Giving birth and dealing with the subsequent drastic hormone crash that leaves new parents at risk of postpartum depression even without a global pandemic to deal with. PPD affects 10-20% of new mothers during “normal” times (and can also affect fathers too, even without their hormones being messy)! And these times are, as we know, not at all normal.
We talk about venturing out of the house only when it’s necessary, but what is “necessary”? Is protecting your mental health (and therefore the physical and emotional health of your infant) not also deeply necessary? But how much is reasonable and when does it start getting ridiculous? Where is the line? When I talked with my local government midwife on the phone a couple of months ago about how I was feeling, she told me, “If you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to look after your baby. You deserve to make time for yourself, it’s important.” Okay, yes, that’s fair. But then she suggested going out to do a bit of shopping or something, even maybe going for coffee with a friend, and I nearly laughed out loud. Coffee?! In this
But in hindsight, perhaps what she was saying wasn’t so ridiculous after all.
Today, the teacher at my very first Family Hand Sign class(!) said something similar. “This year in particular has been really tough for new parents. So many Mama & Baby events and activities have been cancelled. It’s especially hard to make friends with other new parents right now, and the risk of developing PPD is higher than ever. That’s why I wanted to run this class,” she said. “So that adults and babies could have the chance to interact with each other and prove that we can make friends and have a good time – safely.”
So yes, that’s what happened today. Baby hand sign class was fun! There were three other babies, all of whom were slightly older (one was 9 months, the other two were around 1 year) and we all kept fairly distant but there’s only so much distance you can keep from two one-year-olds who are wandering around all over the place, lol. My baby, 6 months old next week, is still at least 3 months too young for her to realistically use any of the signs, but I figured if I learn and use them, she’ll have the opportunity to communicate using baby sign language at some point in the future. And at the very least, we’ll be able to see other human beings for one hour every fortnight.