Alex, Amelia and Nancy ( 2 weeks old )
Photographed 5th June 2020 - 75 days into lockdown 

When and how did Covid enter your day to day world?

I was 7 months pregnant commuting to my job in London when COVID cases started rising. More and more cases were popping up near by to my office and on the 12th March my boss spoke to me about being more at risk and said I could go and work from home if I was concerned. I went home that afternoon and had no idea that I wouldn’t be back until after maternity leave. I didn’t say goodbye to any of my colleagues or clear out my desk. Our office closed the following Monday. It was actually a blessing in disguise as it meant the last two months of my pregnancy I could work from home and no longer had to commute. I continued to work up until the day I went into labour. As vulnerable person, being asked to shield for 12 weeks I knew I wouldn't be going anywhere until after Nancy was born. Lockdown made me really appreciate what a wonderful place we live in and how lucky we are to have a lovely garden with open countryside out of our back gate. Many of my friends and colleagues living in London were not so lucky; confined to small flats with no open space.

What is the biggest way the lockdown has changed your day to day life?

All our social interactions had to take place over video link including birthdays, hen parties and my baby shower. As a vulnerable person I didn’t leave the village for anything except for 3 midwife appointments for 78 days. It felt like living in a little bubble. Going out into the world for those appointments was a really strange feeling.

What moment in Covid ‘life’ stands out for you / do you think you will always remember?

Lying in our hammoks I the garden while I was pregnant. In our own little world waiting for Nancy to arrive. That and washing the shopping!

What have been the good things about this period?

Lockdown has made me really appreciate where we live and realise how lucky we are to have a beautiful garden and open countryside on our doorstep. I never felt cooped up or claustrophobic as I could always go out for a walk or spend time in the garden.  We are so fortunate to live in a village like Heydon. It also saved me from a gruelling commute towards the end of my pregnancy. Not travelling to London gave me a chance to rest and take care of myself. I have also felt a real sense of community in the village with friendly hellos from everyone I saw whilst out walking even from a distance.

What have been the most painful aspects of this period?

The experience of having a baby during a pandemic brought a lot of uncertainty. Not knowing whether my husband could be present throughout the birth was my biggest fear. Luckily he was able to be with me until a few hours after she was born. I was also frightened to go into hospital with the possibility of myself or the baby contracting COVID. Another aspect of this time was knowing that no one would be able to hold our new baby when she was born and this was something that made me very sad. I can remember holding my nieces and nephews on the day they were born and what special memories those are for me. Seeing my parents hold their grand children for the first time was something I always imagined would be an incredibly special moment when I eventually had a baby of my own. Luckily, lockdown started to ease soon after Nancy was born so family and friends could come and visit us in our garden. At least they have been able to see her, if not hold her.

What will you take from this time going forward?

I think lockdown has made me appreciate time with family and friends so much more. It’s something that we took for granted being able to meet a friend for dinner or hug your parents. I can’t wait until we can go back to normal. I think this time has also made people more conscious of the journeys they take and the impact on the environment. I hope lockdown will make people think twice if their journey is necessary or if they can do it in a more environmentally friendly way. I also hope that when I do return to work it can be more flexible and I can work from home more, if not exclusively. This time has made companies realise how much more people are able to do their jobs remotely, and that this can be even more productive. If I can work from home and still do my job it will make a huge difference to me in the future as a working mother.

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