• Katy Rigg

Ieashia and Reggie - 14th February

Reggie was born a few weeks before lockdown, and when the official announcement was made, Ieashia felt completely cut off from some essential services that parents of young babies rely on. With little access to support, she had to figure out a lot of things for herself, which is frightening and hard work for a new mother – mastitis is a pain like no other! Writing this story, Ieashia has been able to reflect on what an achievement it was to persevere with breastfeeding under exceptionally difficult circumstances, and she is right to feel proud to have done this all for Reggie.

As soon as we found out I was pregnant, we couldn’t wait for 2020. We had made so many plans for what we were going to do being first time parents. We hadn’t planned our pregnancy but we knew in 2020 we wanted to start thinking about it. We live our lives in the moment and always go by the saying, “If it’s meant to be, it will happen.”

I had a really tough pregnancy but leading up the the birth I was so excited to finally meet our baby and find out who they were.

Luckily there were no restrictions and we had our baby just before the lockdown. We knew about Corona, but it wasn’t taken seriously at that point. For me personally, I’m so glad that I could have both my husband and my mum at the birth because I couldn’t have done it without them both. It wasn’t the birth I had planned and if I had to do the majority of that alone, I don’t think I could have done it so calmly.

All in all, I was in hospital for 7 days. Three days beforehand and then 4 days after. We were allowed visitors but only two at a time. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and get home to my own comforts but I was starting to worry about the endless messages and I was already getting anxious about people coming to visit and see the baby.

Three weeks into Reggie’s life, lockdown happened and we really did struggle to be completely honest. I had just managed to get a breastfeeding appointment at my local children’s centre, Reggie had jaundice and then there were no more health visits so I wasn’t sure of his levels. He also had a tongue tie so doesn’t latch on very well and we were struggling with the feeding, wondering if he had put on enough weight and why his nappies had suddenly turned bright, bright green! The doctors surgery was no help. We couldn’t even get through to anyone on the phone and all they kept saying is to wait until lockdown was over.

Breastfeeding was our biggest challenge throughout, but I persevered through the pain, the bleeding nipples and through the mastitis! I cut out dairy and soy incase of any allergies, until eventually my baby seemed happier and nappies were back to normal. I’m very proud of myself for that actually, as it would have been much easier to give up and stick him on a bottle.

I really missed not being able to meet new first time mums and take him swimming; all the things you picture for your maternity leave. Instead I was petrified to leave the house and when I did go on our walks I would be so paranoid, crossing the roads If I saw someone coming towards me.

I must say though, having my husband home for the first three months of our baby’s life was amazing. They created such a strong bond which most dads wouldn’t get the chance to have until the baby was a bit older. It also really helped my mental health, as I suffer with anxiety anyway and if I was at home on my own with the baby I don’t know how I would have coped.

In future, I really do think men should be entitled to much more than two weeks paternity leave. Our baby has grown and developed and learnt so much from having the both of us there everyday!

We also enjoyed having no pressure. It didn’t matter if the baby was up all night because we could sleep all day. No routine, nowhere to be, no work calls to take and we could just be present with the baby. Even though in the back of our mind, we were worried about finances being both self employed.

As the restrictions ease, I am still nervous. We have seen family now but not many friends, although slowly I’m getting better with learning to live with this virus around and I can’t keep my baby shielded forever. He needs to see this crazy world!

We are waiting for the time when it’s completely safe to travel, as half of his family live abroad and are desperate to meet him. And also…we are desperate for a holiday!

Image by Kristina Mack-Tiny Posers

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