I recently saw in my social media feed a beautiful post from Sydney paediatrician Dr Claire Egbers (originally from Johannesburg). Inspired by her own family, two of whom are due to give birth in the coming months, she created this drawing for them to accompany some words written by Catie Atkinson, Spirit Y Sol. Catie writes about how this pandemic has caused the loss of shared joy that a new baby brings to a family.
She captures the sentiment beautifully when she describes the empty space for new mothers when there was planned comfort and company. Where new mothers hoped to be surrounded by friends and family during their transition to motherhood.
I know the walls of your house feel tight and the days feel so long and you crave a warm hand on your knee and the soft embrace of a friend. You wish for someone by your side to marvel at this beautiful baby of yours and to wrap an arm around you when the feelings get too big and scary.Catie Atkinson, Spirit Y Sol.
It is grieving the loss of a fundamental right of a new parent, which is to share the joy of their beautiful new baby with their loved ones. In describing all the things that are lost, it allows new and expectant mums to acknowledge and grieve for all the things that are not possible, for now.
Catie also describes a great message of hope and that ‘this too shall pass’ as with many disappointments and sad times in our lives. But until then, even stuck in your four walls, you are not really alone…
you are surrounded by all the other mothers who are navigating this tender time in isolation as well.Catie Atkinson, Spirit Y Sol.
It is understandable that women may feel overwhelmed by the isolation and a lack of face to face support, but please know that there are resources available to assist parents of new babies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maternity staff and Health Care professionals who work with families with newborns are acutely aware that they need to provide opportunities for women to reach out and get help if they need it.
Below are a list of resources you may find useful as you navigate this unfamiliar path. Remember, your Health Care Providers can also direct you to support services that are local to you.
As always, we wish you all the best.
Mental Health Resources
Emergency Mental Health Line (NSW) – 1800 011 511
MumSpace – Supporting the Emotional Health of New Mums
The Mum Drum – COPE podcast
Visit your GP to discuss your mental health. If you need, your GP can provide you with a mental health care plan and referral to mental health practitioner, such as a psychologist or counsellor.
The Gidget Foundation Australia: provides support for perinatal Depression and Anxiety and for families suffering emotional distress in pregnancy and early parenting. Contact 1300851 758
Online References for parents about coping with Coronavirus:
Mental health considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak (WHO International).
Beyond Blue – Pregnancy and New Parents – seeking support
Beyond Blue – looking after your mental health during the Coronavirus outbreak
Australian Breastfeeding Association COVID-19 guidelines
Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – guide to breastfeeding during the Coronavirus pandemic
Accessing trustworthy information:
Health.gov.au Coronavirus Health Alert
Health Direct website Coronavirus advice
NSW Health Coronavirus updates
Northern NSW Local Health District – Information for women accessing maternity services
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