At the beginning of all this, I was scared of Lockdown, but now I sometimes feel scared of it ending?!

@MyNewMummyLife‘s #MadCovidDiaries 9.7.2020

Lockdown Update: Week 12,13,14,15??? I’ve lost count.

It’s been a while since I wrote something for #MadCovidDiaries. As a family, we’ve just been plodding along the best we can. My husband was made redundant, so he’s spending time with us all, which is nice. But we do have some tough days with the kids, especially Toddler Tornado. He gets bored and doesn’t really understand why he can’t go back to nursery, or as he says, “go to school? Come on then, go to school..” I don’t even think he understands what school is, other than what he’s picked up from Peppa Pig, Mr Tumble and the Teletubbies. But he does miss the nursery. He’d not been there long before Lockdown started. He was building up to spending more time there and just starting to settle in. Up until attending nursery, he’d not really been around many other children. But he was starting to get used to the idea of nursery being a place where he can play and make friends, rather than a place that mummy and daddy leave him in when all he really wants is to stay with us instead.

I’m not sure what the plans are yet regarding his nursery opening. I’m assuming the plan is to open in September, but I guess that massively depends on how things are going with COVID-19. We are all living in a kind of strange limbo at the moment – wanting to make plans for the near future and hoping that these plans will go ahead – But also worrying that there could be a second wave, or that our area might be subject to a local Lockdown. There’s a lot of unknowns out there at the moment. It makes me feel anxious, but I expect a lot of people feel the same.

I feel sad when I think about what my children are missing out on. Toddler Tornado had a very strong bond with his grandad, but it was such a long time before he could see him and actually give him a hug. He couldn’t understand why we’d all of a sudden stopped going to grandads home to see him there, or why grandad would say hello to him through the closed window at the car door, instead of opening the car and leaning over to give him a big kiss. They have only recently started to see each other again. Still in a restricted way, but it’s better than nothing. I think it’s done my son the world of good to see more of him. He gets very shy and cautious at first, but he eventually comes out of his shell and wants to be holding grandads hand and giving him a kiss. Little Miss is also missing out. She doesn’t really know her grandad yet. I think grandad himself is finding that tough too. With my son, he was there so much throughout his first year and beyond, but my daughter is missing out on that bond. I hope we get a chance to properly put that right soon.

It also makes me feel sad that the children can’t go play on the swings at the park. Toddler Tornado loves the swings and Little Miss is old enough now to have her first go on them. We used to take Toddler Tornado to an indoor play area too, which he loved. I’m sure that Little Miss would love it too as soon as they are open again, and that it’s safe enough to go there.

My mental health has been affected by Lockdown. I’d recently been discharged from a mother and baby unit when Lockdown first started. I’d also managed to attend two sensory play sessions with other mums and babies at the hospital post discharge. It was my plan to continue going to these. The group was about to start with a new set of mums, so I was hoping that I’d be able to make some new mummy friends, as we would all be in the same boat – not knowing many mums there. The last two sessions I attended before Lockdown started, were the last sessions of a previous group, so all of the mums knew each other quite well. I didn’t really get chance to meet any of them properly. I don’t think I’ll be going to any sessions in the future now, because I’m due to be discharged from the perinatal service soon. I don’t think any of the groups for mums and babies will be back before then.

My confidence has taken a huge knock during Lockdown. Ive noticed that I’m getting more anxious, the longer it goes on. I often feel scared to go outside, though I do push myself to. We regularly take the kids out to a park or to a quiet open space somewhere for some fresh air and to give Toddler Tornado a chance to burn off some energy. I can cope with seeing the children’s grandad. But if we bump in to other members of our family unexpectedly, it makes me incredibly anxious. These same family members are ones I enjoyed going to see before Lockdown. I just feel like my confidence has taken such a knock. It’s going to be hard building it back up again. I’m also finding it harder to do the food shops. It’s all anxiety related, and PRN does help. I just hope it will get easier soon. At the beginning of all this, I was scared of Lockdown, but now I sometimes feel scared of it ending?! I also regularly feel as though I’m not a good enough mum. Those thoughts had gone away, but the longer Lockdown has gone on, the longer I feel the thoughts creeping back in to my head.

COVID-19 is also massively changing what it’s like to attend hospital appointments. Toddler Tornado had an important appointment this week. When we arrived, we were greeted straight away by two nurses in masks at the front door, who asked us loads of questions to check we wouldn’t pose a COVID-19 risk to anyone. We were also given masks and told we had to wear them. I hated that personally, but I understand the need for masks. It just made me feel more anxious. They also asked if they thought our son would wear one, and I explained that he wouldn’t. We were then able to take him to the waiting room. Before COVID-19, the waiting room was full of toys and the children would often play together while they were waiting. They’re not nice appointments for toddlers, but the toys do calm them down a bit. Obviously, this had to change because of the virus. The waiting room had socially distanced space between the chairs and the toys had been removed. All of the staff were also wearing masks, which our son found a bit unsettling. He got through it as OK as he could under the circumstances.

It’s made me think of other hospital departments with all of their outpatient appointments for children and how they too have been affected. Also, those children who are really poorly and on a ward. It must be such a scary time for them and their families, more so when in the midst of a global pandemic. I hope they’re allowed visitors now. Same for adults on hospital wards too. Our son’s hospital appointment is nothing when compared to what some children are going through right now in hospitals.

Now that Lockdown is easing, things are starting to feel weirder? More traffic out on the roads. More people out and about in shops because most of them are open now. Seeing people in pubs as you pass them. Some children back at school, but some children not. It also feels as though Lockdown is easing too quickly? It’s hard not knowing how long our lives will be affected by COVID-19. I am just thankful that our family are all OK.

We’ve booked a caravan in a quiet place for 3 nights later this month. It’s just for a change of scenery for us all really. It’s by the sea. No facilities will be open, so it will just be a quiet space for us to relax, outside of our own home. We need to not be staring at the same four walls. Even if we end up spending a lot of time in the caravan and it’s own four walls, it will still be a welcome change of scenery. We also have a guarantee that they will give us our money back if COVID-19 prevents us from going. So that’s good too. It’s nice to have something for us all to look forward to! I just hope it will be safe for us, but it’s not like we’re getting on a plane or anything. We do think that, on balance, it will be OK. It should be quiet and safe.

To be completely honest, we are following our own instincts rather than the “Goverment advice”. And no, before anyone asks – I’m not Dominic Cummings! But seriously though, we are just doing what we personally think is best for us and our kids. So yeah – we are all plodding along and just taking it day by day. Hope everyone else is doing as OK as possible ❤️❤️❤️

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