As part of the #BabiesInLockdown report findings, we heard several stories from parents that had a challenging experience having a baby in lockdown with minimal support. Here is Amy's story.

My third baby Barney was born on the 18th March at Bradford Royal Infirmary. In the weeks before his birth, I had high blood pressure and COVID-19 in the UK had started to become more serious. Due to my high blood pressure, I was going up to hospital every couple of days to be checked - questions about coughs, temperature, had started to happen, but not once was I told what would happen if I had COVID-19 whilst giving birth. Would I be allowed to give birth in the hospital? Would my baby be taken straight away from me? I later found out that the hospital had dedicated rooms where mums with suspected COVID-19 would give birth, but no one had told me that!

I went into hospital on the 16th March to be induced, luckily at that point my husband could come on the prenatal ward. When I finally went down to the labour ward in the afternoon on Wednesday 18th March, things in the media were picking up pace. I remember laying in bed on the labour ward, epidural in, hearing the midwives outside saying that schools and nurseries were shutting. WHAT no. I can still remember the instant dread and fear that washed over me, I was not scared of giving birth again, I was scared of how I would cope with a newborn, 4-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl at home. We knew what was coming next - there would be a lockdown like other countries. There would be no where to go, not even to my mums house to get out with the kids for some respite. My husband calmed me down and told me not to think about that - for two weeks he was off on paternity leave and then we could think about the future after that. Somehow, I did push it out of my mind and had a lovely birth. 


Cut forward to the weekend - Sunday 22nd, we had our first and last family trip out, for what would be weeks, to a local play park. Monday 23rd, lockdown was announced. I cried and cried. My mum and sister live around the corner but I couldn't see them. My husband was due to go back to work in a week, I was sore, tired, and I was angry that this wasn't the maternity leave I had planned, and most of all, I felt guilty. Guilty that I had brought a baby into this scary world, and there were times I wished I did not have him. I also felt guilt for my other two children, who before lockdown were busy in reception class and at childminders, busy with swimming, dancing and socialising with friends. The guilt of trying to be a new mum and a teacher weighed on me - this did get easier over time. During the second week of my husband's paternity leave, it was announced that he would be furloughed from work for at least 4 weeks (it turned out to be 8 in total) and this was a lifesaver and a true blessing that he was around because I really think if he had to have gone into work, then I would have suffered from PND. I made a point to not watch the evening news briefing, and I put a block on my phone so I could not access any new channels or social media.

I can't afford to take any more time off work, so I'm still planning to go back to work in October. I feel like I don't really know Barney yet, his one-to-one time with me has been taken but when I look back, I do count myself as one the lucky lockdown mums but know there are many out there still struggling.

Amy Milner, Bradford