I think it is impossible to not feel reflective today. Today marks one year since lockdown number one started. The week before this, pregnant women had been identified as more vulnerable to Covid-19 and advised to stay at home, so by this time last year, I already had a week of Zoom #daisybaby and #daisybirthing classes under my belt.
One of my lockdown (lockdown 3 as it happens) projects has been to start a one line a day 5 year diary – all the diary entries for the same date are on the same page with the appropriate year beside them. I started it from January 2021 but have been backdating to January 2020 using prompts from my photo reel, and digging through messages to friends and family. Every day there is a reminder (at least a vague one) of life a year ago, and how disappointingly similar things are a year down the line. What are my thoughts today, a year later?
I already knew that women, Mothers in particular, are extremely resilient, but in the last year my eyes have really been opened to their strength. For a year now, women have attended appointments alone, sometimes birthed alone, learned how to Mother without the usual support, been their baby or child’s main entertainer & educator, they have taken on the role of formal education and without any outside help or the usual groups / clubs / childcare, Mothers have been “on” 24/7. We all know that Mothers are always “on” all day, every day and all night, every night of course, but during this pandemic the load has been even heavier.
In normal times, being able to go to a baby group for some connection with other Mums and some entertainment for your baby (and often stretching it out with coffee and cake afterwards), being able to wheel your baby round the shops for a few hours, meeting another Mum for a stroll and lunch, having Mums and tots groups to go to most days of the week, catching up with Mum friends even when you don’t get to finish your drink or your conversation as the toddlers or little ones have so many needs, being able to go to after schools clubs or arrange play dates or pop to the park without worry are all things we enjoy, but probably underestimated how much good they did us. Sometimes life can feel very busy rushing from one thing to the next, so a pause and some down time is lovely, but I think a year is pushing it!!
Currently it feels like there is a lot of pressure to be grateful for all the things that a global pandemic has taught us, and as I say above, women & mothers are resilient, but it comes at a cost. We shout loudly about self care and doing things to “top up our cup”, but we need space and support to be able to do that. Mothers haven’t “topped up their cups” with anything meaningful for a year now, and I’m not talking about spa days and haircuts, I’m talking about connection, nurture and support.
This has been a hard time for everyone, and that’s another thing we tell ourselves to minimise our own needs, or to add on the guilt about finding it hard when everyone has found it hard, but I would love women / Mothers to really use this time where hope is on the horizon to firstly congratulate themselves for the amazing job they have done in holding their families together during this time, and secondly to prioritise a self care plan to replenish the reserves – what would your plan look like, and who are you going to call on to help make it happen?