A number of people have been in touch with me over the past 7 months, checking in on me with a now 7 month old baby… “R U OK”– assuming it has been and continues to be a super difficult time given restrictions and lockdown – but to be honest… covid iso and regular new-baby iso are startlingly similar. New baby time can be an isolating time whether its 2020 or not… we could all be better at supporting each other through it from now on. There’s also a thing or two we can learn from the new baby iso that might help us all once we’re out of covid iso.
In the street I’m getting strangers tilting their head as I push the pram past, they say “how is it all going darl?” I’ll tell you, it’s going exactly how my non covid maternity iso would go. Sure, in my world there’s a few things that are more intense during covid iso – like less support than normal, no escape to yoga, no cafes for bathroom breaks or breastfeeding (got stared down by a cop while I was breasfeeding in the winter chill on a park bench last week). Then there’s the intensely good things like this squishy baby all to myself with a greater sense of presence than I might otherwise have 🙂 … Aside from these it’s mostly similar… isolation. Good Days & Bad Days.
There’s a lot of people I hear summing covid iso up as good days and bad days actually. I wanted to expand on this in the context of new baby isolation to offer up some more opportunities for compassion and empathy as you see the mum pushing the pram down the street or think of your work colleague who’s home on mat leave.
Good Days & Bad Days
A good coffee. V. A bad Coffee
Veil of wellbeing and purpose… you know sustaining life and all that. V. Haze of Exhaustion
People who get it v. People who don’t
Walking with a spring in step. v. Walking dragging feet
Self Affirming… wow, I have actually got this today v. Self doubting (yes, even me)
Babies first smashed Banana! V Smashed banana errywhere.
Tickes & Giggles v. Whinges and whiiiiiiiiiiiiines
Making new friends v. Missing Lifelong friends
Thinking I could not do this with anyone else besides my partner v. Being on different pages.
Working 9-5 and it’s all fitting in place v. Workin 5-9 getting nowhere
Baby sleeps for 2.5 hours at noon v. Baby cat naps for 15 minutes
Proud parent moment v. Miss 3 is yelling at me (properly schooling me) in public.
Making some professional gains in career again v. Subbing out my chosen professional life to become a full time domestic cleaner (so much admiration for professional domestic cleaners).
Teaching the toddler something profound v. Teaching the toddler a bad habit (…again).
Creativity exploding v. Not using my brain once aside from fulfilling others’ needs
Fitting back into my skinny jeans v. Getting my period back
Growing new hair after it all falling out v. Growing sideburns for some reason?
Interest in causes and purpose growing as I want to make life better for one and all little lives v. Thinking the world is screwed and there’s nothing I can do.
Golden silence v. Not using my vocal chords with another adult until 11am, sometimes 2pm until I hear my “formal self” ask for a coffee or speak on the phone for the first time. Even the three year old looks at me like wtf was that mum.
So we’re all looking for silver linings in 2020. Perhaps being able to empathise with a mum to a new baby is one we can all take away from this. Then there’s the little lesson most parents to older kids and adults always say and we know is true – that the days are long but the years are short… we often wish the days away with our little ones and no doubt will wish just a day back in decades time… So perhaps in covid times we can take a little breath pondering whether we’ll wish to be back here in isolation, even for a week, in future when life is all a bit too much.
Image Photo Credit: Harvie @ 3 Years Old (Proud parenting moment. Good Day).