Life can be tough for new mums and mums-to-be; and preparing for birth and going through the first days of parenthood can be hard enough without being cooped up inside, without the help of friends and family who would normally be at hand. Here, Katharine Hill, UK director of Care for the Family, offers up her tips for mums.
I became a granny last year, twice! I remember the moment that my phone pinged and a photograph of this little wrinkled bundle of joy popped onto the screen. We jumped in the car and went straight to meet them.
In the days and weeks that followed, we were supportive. We did supermarket shops, we cooked meals and we helped around the house. We had my favourite job of all: a nice little cuddle with the baby and looking after them whilst their mum tried to catch up on a little bit of sleep during the day.
But for today's new parents, all that support - because of the pandemic - has been stripped away. They're having to make different plans to manage on their own, and it's tough! If that's your situation, here are a couple of encouragements...
Firstly, it's an opportunity to slow down. I have a friend who is expecting her first baby next month and while she would normally be busy, finishing off projects and getting organised, she's having to be home. And it's made her slow down and rest and prepare for birth. Another has a four-month-old and instead of having a busy house full of visitors, she now has time on her own with her baby; time to bond and get to know her, which has made her feel more confident as a mum.
Secondly, while our family and friends can't be there in person, make sure you have phone calls and set up video calls and get all the support that you can. It's so important.
Try and get some kind of routine. One mum told me that she takes the baby out in a pram and goes round the block at the same time every day, and it helps her feel in control of her day and helps her mental well-being.
Having a baby can put pressure on any relationship, particularly on a couple's relationship, so give each other a bit of slack, and try and find time to be with each other and invest in your marriage.
Finally, and most importantly: don't sweat the small stuff. It doesn't matter if you don't get dressed until dinner time. It doesn't matter if you don't get dressed. Take it a day at a time. Be kind to yourself and be confident. Enjoy the special moments and know you will get through.
Katharine Hill is UK director of Care for the Family. This blog is adapted from a video by Care for the Family, to find out more, visit their Facebook page.