TV stars Lucy Mecklenburgh and Ore Oduba were joined by GP, Stephanie Ooi, and wellness expert, Caroline Foran, as they answered audience questions and shared their own experiences of pandemic parenting and the feelings that come with navigating the new norm post lockdown. Hosted by comedian and busy mum Ellie Taylor, parents from across the UK & Ireland tune in to a discussion of all-new topics including:
Pandemic parenting triumphs, nightmares and hilarities
Things parents will be taking out of lockdown
Newborn and baby advice
The importance of staying connected
Anxieties around life after lockdown
How can I look after my newborn and toddler when my family are unable to visit?
Expert GP, Stephanie Ooi said, “As a mum of two, and having recently given birth during lockdown, juggling two little ones has been a bit of a challenge. As with a lot of people, we’ve really missed our family support, and there will be lots of new parents out there who are feeling the same. Although things are getting back to normal, it still might not feel like the right time to see family and friends, and if you have vulnerable members of the family who are still shielding, you’ll want to take this process gradually. As such, it is important to remember that it’s ok to ask for help. Ask your GP for medical advice, or speak to someone about getting psychological support if you feel like you’re really struggling. Parenthood is tricky even with family around you, so don’t be afraid to speak to a healthcare professional for advice, so you don’t feel like you’re doing this alone.
What will happen during my 6 week check-up? Have things changed?
Expert GP, Stephanie Ooi says “There is a lot of fear with mums at the moment around attending appointments, however, all post-natal appointments will still be going ahead as your healthcare professional will want to ensure you and your baby are well. During your 6 week checkup, you will be asked how you're feeling as part of a general discussion about your mental health and wellbeing, and the purpose of the appointment is to check you’re feeling well and recovering properly. At some appointments, your baby’s check-up will be done at the same time; but your healthcare professional will be able to advise. If this happens, your baby will have a full physical examination, and they can go through how this will work with you. They'll also ask you if your baby's feeding well and talk to you about recommended vaccinations. If you are concerned or at all unsure, make sure you get in touch with your local GP or healthcare professional who can give advice on booking this in.”
Can you give me some advice around anxiety and having a baby during lockdown?
Wellness expert, Caroline Foran said, “Try and remember the reasons why you might be feeling anxious in the first place - it’s then easier to cope and feel in control. Being pregnant and having a baby during a pandemic will naturally give rise to extra anxiety; the virus can feel like a very real threat, and it’s important to recognise this. When you add this to the normal anxiety around pregnancy, it’s no wonder people might feel a heightened sense of worry or concern. Recognise that it’s normal and ok to feel this way, but also try to accept that it’s happening and then try and do things for you that will take your mind off that feeling. Practicing mindfulness, or meditation, or simply taking the time to have a relaxing bath, can do wonders. Also, be kind to yourself, you don’t need to have everything figured out all the time.”
It was interesting to also hear from Lucy Meck about her experience giving birth just before lockdown and the impact of not being able to have your support network around you,
“ Yeah, ten days before lockdown I had a baby and I got out of hospital five days before and it was really weird because I had like everyone round, all really excited and then it was like shut the door bye everyone , you’re on your own – get on with it! It was really crazy, it was hard”
Lucy also touch on the anxieties she had been feeling as a new mum and what had been heightened by lockdown, “Do you know what, it did feel weird and I did have a lot of anxiety about it and we went to a restaurant a couple of weeks ago and I had two sort of major anxieties. One was feeding in public because I had never done it before and it felt really odd, cause I had only breastfed in my house and I felt really exposed. And the waitress got really close in his pram – putting her head in and she meant really well and she was really lovely, but I felt really uncomfortable.”
As a new parent, how can I handle other mum’s advice around having a newborn?
Wellness expert, Caroline Foran said, “When getting advice from other parents, it can feel frustrating and a little bit daunting. Try to remember that your friend might mean well, but that what is right for someone else, isn’t necessarily right for you. If you’re already feeling a bit anxious about parenthood, especially during a pandemic, listening to other’s advice can feel like there’s added pressure. Protect your wellbeing by only focusing your attention on advice you trust and that you know will work for you, and your newborn. Thank anyone for their advice, but don’t feel the pressure to put it into practice, and don’t feel the need to justify your choices to others. This is your pregnancy and parenting journey – no one elses.”
Is my healthcare professional still able to see me?
Expert GP, Stephanie Ooi says: “You will still be able to access all the services you usually have, but things might just be a little bit different. Remember that our job is to look after you and your baby. Appointments will vary across the country, but GP surgeries are still open, health visitors are still working, and if you are pregnant your midwife will be available too. So, if you have any health concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact them. Obviously, the service might be a little bit busier than normal but they will still be very happy to speak to you and provide medical advice for you and baby. They will probably assess you over the phone first and either invite you in for a face-to-face appointment or do a telephone consultation. Make sure you feel involved when you speak to your healthcare professional, and discuss how you can get your partner involved as well. For example, preparing questions for scans together, or having your partner on the phone during the appointment.