Hannah and Andy Howells, from Southampton, were on their way to Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton on 19 April 2020 when they realised they were not going to make it in time. They pulled over into a Sainsbury's Local car park where Andy had to help deliver baby Wilf, while on the phone to a 999 call handler who talked him through delivering the baby. A year on the young family have not had much interaction with the outside world due to lockdown so they have some worries about ‘going back to normal’.
Hannah said: “Wilf starts nursery next month and I am already losing sleep for worrying. I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach when I think about handing him over at the door when he starts. Handing him over to a total stranger. He has barely had close contact with our dearest friends or even one set of grandparents, so how does this next step even seem fair on him?”
Now Solent Mind, the region's largest mental health charity is offering advice to new parents to help ease anxiety that can come with lockdown restrictions easing over the next few months. For many, it can feel worrying to move from a year of being a small family bubble to taking young children back out into the world.
Clare Grant, Assistant Director of Services at Solent Mind says: “It is important to remember you are the most important thing for your child – looking after yourself and your own wellbeing is being a good parent and you will not be judged for finding it hard. We recommend staying in contact with others in the same situation, taking it slow and making sure to balance time out socialising with the downtime you’ve all become used to.”
Hannah has also learnt some important lessons while parenting in a pandemic. She says: “I’ve learned that it’s ok to cry and it’s ok not to be okay, and I would encourage other parents to tell themselves this as well. Be kind to yourself. And remember, there is always a new day.”
Hear more about Hannah and Andy’s experience over the past year and worries about emerging out of lockdown on Solent Mind’s blog, https://www.solentmind.org.uk/news-events/blog/hannah-andy-story/
Solent Mind are here to support anyone in Hampshire who needs it. If you’re feeling worried about coming out of lockdown, call their support line on 023 8017 9049, open weekdays: 8am-8pm and weekends: 9am-5pm.
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