As I am writing this, I have been through one strict national lockdown in my city and a “tighter restrictions” lockdown since. When we were first locked down I was reaching seven weeks. We weren’t allowed to leave our home under any circumstance other than to go to our closest supermarket to buy food and supplies. Only one person per household was allowed to make this trip and we were prohibited from seeing our families and friends.
At seven weeks you can imagine that we hadn’t yet shared our pregnancy news with all of our family and friends. Our strict lockdown lasted just over three months and boy was it hard. I write this with the aims and intentions of helping any other fellow women who are going through the same difficult times, or perhaps you are worried after seeing the state of your local hospitals and the numbers increasing each day, that a lockdown seems likely. The first month was the hardest month of my life, yet as time passed I began to adapt and figure out how to live as a newly pregnant woman in confinement.
Now me and my husband live in a tiny apartment in the city centre (we live one street behind the main street in our city) so we weren’t able to take walks to stretch our legs, pop outside in our garden for fresh air or escape to another part of the house to see a new environment. We literally felt trapped in our tiny apartment that we had never thought too much into since we were out most of the day at work like most city folk.
Spending over three months 24 hours a day with my best friend was fun. It was like falling in love all over again and reliving our care-free days where we could sit all day on the sofa and eat cereal for dinner. But boy did we argue. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you develop (at least a mental) a list or a schedule for yourself. Here are the things that helped me cope through my lockdown and as we have just entered a third lockdown, they are still what manages to keep our relationship healthy.
This sounds so obvious but it is SO important. Not only do you need a routine but you need a SEPERATE routine from your partner or a “me time routine”. Trust me, to save your sanity you need to spend time alone and working on projects that you love. Even if your partner is the best thing since sliced bread, you will end up wanting to run far away from them! Take the time to create your baby shower list or order last minute necessities for your newborn.
This is especially true if you live in a small apartment like us. In the first month it was fun and exciting not having the adult responsibilities of cleaning the dishes right away before bedtime and cleaning the kitchen and all those kinds of fun adult things. After a month the novelty wears off when your pyjamas haven’t been washed for several weeks and everything feels dirty. A clean space will lift your mood which is SO important for your mentality during a lockdown. Plus, an excuse to go on a walk by taking out the trash? Yes please!
Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp – whatever you choose – you need to speak to your loved ones at least once a day to almost feel human. Remember before lockdown you spoke to the lady at the bakery or you saw the owner of your corner shop – all of these interactions (no matter how small they seem) make us human. We were made to socialise. Speaking to your loved ones will boost your happiness and your mood and plus, they probably need to speak to you too.
That’s right – you need to keep moving! Hard when you live in a 80 metre squared apartment, right? Wrong! If we have learned anything from this pandemic, it is how creative we are. So many people resorted to posting videos online to encourage others to take part in sport. Whether it’s joining in with your favourite Youtuber or actor/actress doing a yoga session in the mornings or personal trainers sharing their workout routine, you need to get involved! During pregnancy it’s so important for you to keep moving – especially if you are in your first or second trimester where it is easier to move around.
This one is difficult. Eating healthy during a confinement feels almost impossible. I know. I’ve been there. Now add being pregnant to the mix. Try to get at least your lunch as being your main source of nutrients. I would often have cereals or yogurt for breakfast and for lunch we had either meat or fish with vegetables every day. This just made it easy to keep track that I was getting at least one healthy meal for my baby.
I don’t just mean small talk about what you want for breakfast that day. I mean really speak to your husband or partner about how you feel. Encourage him or her to open up about how they feel. Allow yourself to be vulnerable because it will make you feel so much better. Allow yourself to cry and have these moments. Because guess what? It made me and my husband SO much closer than we were before today. We are closer than ever after this confinement.
Not only has your routine been completely flipped upside down and what you have always been able to do and know has been completely erased and taken from you, but you are also PREGNANT. Your hormones are all over the place and it is completely NORMAL to feel upset and full of emotions ESPECIALLY in such a situation. Following these different steps really helped me stay calm and helped with my sanity. That being said, it is so important not to do the same thing every day.
Don’t do the same routine every day. Even if it means learning a new recipe or finally learning to play the guitar you got last year, make sure you are constantly playing with your routine. Spend a day going through your wardrobe to throw out any old clothing or clothes you want to donate to charity. Use the time to learn a new language or anything that you have always thought, “I wish I had time to do that!”, now is your chance to make a start. Not happy with your job? Look online for a new one. Start online classes for a training course that will help you get that promotion or whatever it is you have wanted but have never found the time, do it now!
Remember that you are pregnant. Do not over-stress or allow yourself to crumble in the chaos and stress that comes with a confinement. Remember that you are in a delicate stage of your life and being honest and open with your partner/husband about how you are feeling and what they can do to help you. I found just by sitting with my husband and speaking openly about imagining our little one being born or even the next time we can see our families managed to make me feel so much better. Of course, there are days where nothing seems to help and everything seems wrong, recognising and realising that everything you are feeling is normal.
Chin up, buttercup! Everything will be right in the world again and you will soon have a beautiful baby in your arms to take care of.