Here come the first lockdown babies: How the pandemic created a baby boom
New research shows that the pandemic has not deterred new parents from starting or adding to their family. Amanda Cassidy on the challenges that come with being a new parent in lockdown.
“Jeez you gotta go have a baby around here just to pack a suitcase and head away for a couple of nights!” Amy Huberman joked as she announced the birth of her son Ted just after Christmas. Her little boy, the third for Huberman and her former rugby player husband, was born at Holles Street in December.
The Finding Joy actress was among those who had their babies under the difficult circumstances of pandemic restrictions meaning limited partner attendance at appointments and scans and the unusual difficulties that accompany lockdown.
Emily Harte also had a baby boy in early December. She says that it was a very different experience than when she had her other children. “Matthew was born via c-section. I found that going in for my scans alone was hard – it is an experience you want to share with your partner and they miss out on a lot during those interactions.
My husband is hugely supportive but when you are pregnant you kind of feel more vulnerable and having that support by your side as you get pulled and prodded is definitely difficult.”
She says it was also hard that she couldn’t let friends and family meet her new addition. “Of course, there is a lot to be said for being able to hibernate a little but I found Christmas hard because all I wanted to do was show off our little guy and let those who also love him like grandparents meet him but sadly it wasn’t to be the case.”
However, despite the challenge that the pandemic has brought, it seems as if it hasn’t put people off having children. New research by social parenting community BabyDoc Club reveals that the pandemic has not deterred new parents from starting or adding to their family, with 81% of couples surveyed actively trying for a baby right now.
Some GP’s have reported a 20% rise in pregnant patients during the past few months. Dr. Brian Higgins is a GP at Galway Primary Care. “We have certainly seen an increase in mothers presenting to our practice for confirmation of pregnancy. It seems there may well be a pandemic baby boom on the way following Ireland’s ongoing national lockdowns.
Half of those looking to add to their family described the lockdown lifestyle of more time together and less social life as the “ideal time” to start a family
“We have been fortunate in so far that we can provide an ultrasound service in our practice so fathers can experience exciting early pregnancy scans. Generally, our mums opt for combined hospital and GP care for their pregnancies to avoid any issues with restricted travel and to allow their partner to attend appointments.”
“There was a lot of relief amongst parents late last year when the HSE started to allow partners to attend the anomaly scan at around 20 weeks gestation. However, the rising Covid positive numbers have meant this must be put on hold again as hospitals continue to review restrictions in line with the evolving government guidelines.”
Parenting expert Laura Erskine with Baby Doc Club says that almost half of those looking to add to their family described the lockdown lifestyle of more time together and less social life as the “ideal time” to start a family.
“While uncertainty continues to prevail regarding how long we may have to live with the pandemic restrictions, the planned rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine programme has offered hope that a more normal maternity healthcare service will resume sooner than later.
A welcome joy in such worrying times
New parents initially struggled with the lack of physical extended family and friends support that they could have traditionally relied on while purchasing the baby essentials was difficult.
Thankfully we now have social bubbles for new mums to get the mental and physical support they need and pre and post-pregnancy baby classes and baby basics have all moved online.”
Of course, not knowing how long the pandemic will last is a huge factor when it comes to making such important life plans, and there are those in fertility treatment who might have their plans for a family interrupted.
But as long as we are locked down or forced to stay at home together, maybe more family time will mean more family members – a welcome joy in such worrying times.
Image via RTE.ie
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