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Becoming pregnant for the first time…in lockdown

The timing couldn’t have been better – or worse. Just eight weeks after the UK went into coronavirus lockdown, on the VE Day Bank Holiday, I finally got the two solid blue lines we’d been waiting to see for so long. I did another test to make sure, and another (how many of us don’t believe our luck on the first one?), and each one said the same thing – I was pregnant with our first, much-wanted baby…in the middle of a global pandemic.

We knew about the pregnancy from very early on – but had to take a few tests to be sure!

Firstly I want to be clear that I know how lucky I am. I didn’t have a period for over a year when I came off the Pill, and was eventually diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). We knew conceiving would be harder for us, and were about to start taking Clomid tablets to help kickstart regular ovulation when lockdown started and the fertility clinics closed. So I am acutely aware of how heart-wrenching this time must have been for couples waiting for IVF, going through miscarriages or struggling to conceive. But falling pregnant in the middle of a pandemic that brought the world to a standstill is something we could never have planned for, and it’s been a mixed bag of emotions.

There have been lots of positives, for sure. Those first tentative weeks dealing with nausea 24/7 (whoever named it morning sickness was seriously underplaying it), questioning every new symptom and trying to keep the biggest thing that’s ever happened to you a secret was 100 times easier while working from home and not being able to socialise. Nobody questions what you’ve got in your wine glass over a Zoom call! And the pregnancy bubble that my husband and I have been in has brought us closer together than ever.

It’s much easier to hide a pregnancy over a Zoom call – but nowhere near as much fun to break the news over video

But I’ve missed having my friends and family around me so much. My parents live five hours away in Yorkshire, so we had to tell them over video. I’ve let other friends know through WhatsApp and Facebook, and broke the news to my workmates with a very awkward Teams call! Even the people I have told face-to-face haven’t been able to give me a hug. There’s no-one to comment on my growing bump, or impart words of advice in the office kitchen. It feels like I’m missing out on the chance to bask in the glow of my first pregnancy.

As we’ve started to move into a ‘new normal’, and it seems everyone on Instagram is glamping in Devon or hosting a garden party for their mum’s best friend’s dog’s 5th birthday, it’s been hard for me to judge what I’m comfortable doing now. Are pregnant women still classed as more vulnerable? Am I already a bad mum if I start going to restaurants and planning staycations?

I’ve also struggled with the huge difference in care pregnant women are receiving right now, with appointments that would usually put a first time mum’s mind at rest happening over the phone or not at all. I work for a girls’ rights charity so I’m always aware of policies that affect women not being a priority. But it’s staggering to think that we can now go to the pub, work out in the gym or have a Primark shopping spree, but partners still aren’t allowed to attend the scans that will show if their baby is healthy.

My other half wasn’t allowed in to the all-important 12 week scan. Thankfully Baby Mac is a great wee poser!

And who knows what the next few months will bring. Will we be in the dreaded ‘second wave’ by the time Retch (as we’ve affectionately named our little puke-maker) makes their way into this crazy world? Will I miss NCT classes, a baby shower, even having my husband there with me as I give birth?

So over the next few months and beyond, I’ll be charting my experiences of navigating this life-changing time for me, while we continue to live through ‘unprecedented times’ out there. And if you’re in the same boat or know someone who is, please get in touch and share your experiences – us preggos need each other now more than ever!

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