good mother myth, lived experiences, Mothering, Publications, research

Parenting during a Pandemic

As part of my research work at Peach Tree Perinatal Wellness 🍑🧡 I have been investigating the impact of COVID-19 on mothers.

I got to speak with some Super Women whose stories of incredible resourcefulness while on the brink of mental collapse were just do I put it – otherworldly!

Pregnancy, birthing and early mothering bring such a chaos and a storm of transitions, some of which we are prepared for but most of which send women to unknown limits of exhaustion, pain, confusion and re-making.

Early motherhood can also be so incredibly LONELY. It was for me. Hours that stretch into infinity…no one to call, nowhere to go. The monotony can be mind altering. Not in a good way.

Well…add a Pandemic to this! A lockdown. A forced isolation.

Imagine levels of anxiety sky high dreading going to the hospital to deliver your baby by haz mat robots.

Early days with a newborn and zero visits. You have to toss a coin between your partner or you mother. Your older child will have to wait a week before meeting her sibling … this is also a whole week without mummy, with no easy ways to understand where she is.

In my early work I had focused on exploring the huge gap between expectations about Motherhood and the Reality of it. This time around the shattered Expectations about those sweet early days of shared care hit hard.

Powerful image by: Lisa Sorgini

Working with birth trauma when you can’t visit a specialist.

Husband working.

Fear about the state of the world.

No help.

How will my child be affected by all of this?

Household chores piled to the ceiling.

Alone. Alone. Alone.

Pleased to mention that organizations like Peach Tree stepped up to go fully online and continued to offer support, with an even wider reach! Which provided some much needed respite. But…of course it wasn’t “the same”.

Mums need mums. Mums need a village. Mums need someone to catch their toddler while they are holding another’s little baby. Mums need to sit together. In silence. In tears. In sharing. Connecting. Intermingling stories. Exchanging nappies. Droopy eyes overjoyed over a shared cuppa. Driving endlessly around the neighborhood because HE WON’T SLEEP OTHERWISE.

A pandemic cuts through all of it.

Sitting with all these stories. Arranging pieces of text. My heart is heavy. We cannot afford such disasters anymore.

What are the big picture structures that we all need to address? How can we change collectively to avoid such horrors to reproduce such an impossible maternal bind?

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