Lockdown diaries: 'No-one has seen him as a baby'

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image copyrightOlivia Hall
image captionOlivia Hall says she worries for people giving birth during the pandemic without support

Olivia Hall gave birth at Southmead Hospital in Bristol at the start of the pandemic. She was one of the first to be placed in isolation at the maternity hospital. This is her take on motherhood and lockdown life in her own words.

"I have flashbacks to Harrison's birth on 25 March during the first lockdown.

"I'd been left for hours labouring in the hospital car park.

"They didn't know where to put me, having shown symptoms for coronavirus 10 days previously.

"They weren't testing then so I went into hospital alone, and 24 hours later I went into surgery alone.

"An emergency C-section was required to deliver my first child. We're 10-and-a-half months later and I've seen a health visitor once.

image copyrightOlivia Hall
image captionThe new mother says the days are "dragging drearily on" as she struggles to find ways to entertain her now walking son

"The feeling of isolation in the third lockdown has hit harder this time, like a roadblock that you've met for the eighth time; life frozen, time lost.

"I don't know whether it is because it is colder and the days shorter, or if it is due just to complete saturation of relentless isolation.

"Every new parent suffers from sleep deprivation but the dark, lonely nights with a sleepless breastfeeding baby are now contaminated by worry.

"Are we taking enough precautions? Was it right to put my child on the swing? Should I be walking with other households? Should I be giving him to my elderly parents? Should I be taking my child to the supermarket?

image copyrightOlivia Hall
image caption"I feel guilty when I take Harrison to the park because I'm worried the swings may have Covid on them"

"I wish he could go to Gymboree, Sing and Sign and Adventure Babies to develop his skills but perhaps it is the social interaction that should concern me more.

"Instead, I dance around the kitchen acting out animal characters in strange voices like a madwoman, in a desperate attempt to provide entertainment as my son stares at my exhausted body, bemused.

"It saddens me that no-one has seen Harrison as a baby, and now he's a toddler.

"I'm so grateful to have a committed father and [now] a grandparent bubble who care, people who can provide a different face, activity, love, wisdom to assist the development of my child but I worry for those who are not so fortunate. "

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