This Morning’s GP, first-time mum, and eco-champion Sara Kayat (also ambassador for WaterWipes) talks about having her baby in lockdown, tips to stay sane in this crazy time, and why being an eco-friendly parent is important.
Sara gave birth to her first baby in the bath! Unimaginable for most, the circumstances and challenges of lockdown had led Sara to choose a home birth, but it was an even bigger surprise when her baby came early in the bath. I asked Sara how she felt about having her baby during lockdown?
“I had my baby in the first lockdown, and rules were changing quite quickly then. I wouldn’t have been able to have my partner at the birth, nor have the water birth I was hoping for. So I decided to have my baby at home. And actually, once I had made this decision, in a period that you are feeling out of control of so many things, I was really happy with it, and so pleased that I would be in an environment I knew. At home, I decorated the rooms with positive affirmations. I felt positive about it.”
It must have been challenging to have a baby in lockdown, did you feel you missed out on support?
“It is difficult when you think about what it could have been, but this is ultimately my first birth so I don’t know what I am missing because I don’t have anything to compare it to. That said, I lament sometimes over the people I would have met at NCT or baby classes that I didn’t get to attend, and I am sad about the activities my little boy has not been exposed to.
But it’s really important that people remember that just because you are not physically connected, you can still connect online and talk with friends, groups, and there is support out there…including your GP, and your midwife. I have a family member record a little video for me, so when I need it I play that. ”
Life is all about choices, including how we approach parenting. But when you’ve just had a baby, and you’re living through a pandemic, you’d have thought being mindful of how we treat our planet doesn’t always rank top of your list. Happily it is for Sara and thankfully, for many slinging nappies, and wipes into the bin to end up in landfill, the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ ethos seems to be a thing of the past.
There’s evidence now to suggest parents feel pressured to make eco-friendly choices. I asked Sara her thoughts on being an eco-friendly parent:
“It has become part of my decision. A third of parents according to Water Wipes' research felt pressure to make sure they were eco-friendly. Although you don’t want to feel the pressure from other people when you’re already overwhelmed, sometimes that kind of pressure may have a ‘positive drive’. Peer motivations, ethical and environmental motivations do help drive change.”
It’s important to think of the environment, but it’s sometimes difficult with prices, and availability being barriers to being green.
Sara comments “For me being green is about doing what I can whilst still maintaining a normal life...It shouldn’t only be the onus of the individual person, it needs to be a balance of the government, stockists, and the person themselves making changes. It needs to be a wider issue. I completely appreciate that for some people those products are not in the price range that is feasible for them, and if that’s the case, with all the best intentions in the world there’s nothing you can do. You can’t make those choices.
So I completely agree that this is something that we need going forward to make accessible for everybody. Ultimately it’s our children’s future, the planet is their future. They are going to inherit this planet, and if we’re throwing it down the loo, then there’s not much left for them!”
Finally, we’ve all had those moments - you know, where you feel a bit frazzled as parents, I asked Sara, during this really crazy time, are there any tips she can give to help your mental well being.
Ensure you have a healthy diet
“Consider the number of foods that are mood-boosting foods. They tend to be healthier things, the removal of things such as processed foods.”
“Exercise increases our endorphins, so make sure you use your allocation - use that one time a day. Get that circulation going.”
“Make sure you are sleeping appropriately. We all have those moments where we don’t sleep well and we’re very cranky the next day and that on top of already waning mental health because of lockdown is only going to add to those issues.
It’s also important to do self-help - such as practising mindfulness, and meditation. Maybe think about getting some simple apps like ‘Headspace’ for example to help you to unwind, help you keep you in the present rather than ruminating about things that could potentially go on in the future.”
Social media is great for groups and to connect with people. But Sara says to also consider times to take a ‘social media’ break now and again:
“Never feel obliged to be part of it. I often recommend a day with no social media, no external influence is quite nice, where everyone just switches off.”