After months of loneliness and lockdowns, parents of newborns are taking their first cautious steps back into the world.
Many of them are keenly seeking out advice and friendship as they adjust to life with a baby.
Prior to COVID-19, mothers’ groups were a common forum to swap stories about feeding or sleeping, but the gatherings were cancelled due to the pandemic.
Breastfeeding counsellor Kath Angus said it left a big void.
“Families in their most vulnerable time after just having had a baby, are being left out in the cold with not as much support as they might have expected,” she said.
But now as restrictions ease, groups are slowly reforming.
The Australian Breastfeeding Association has organised meetings in Brisbane for the first time in months.
‘This is our first official outing’
It has been eight weeks since Moorooka mum Takshi Lilaramani had her daughter, Mischka.
Back then, coronavirus was at the top of her mind.
“It was very scary,” she said.
“I was very isolated. You felt alone, especially with no family being able to come over as well.
“All our family is back in India, so we don’t have anybody here.”
The absence of family made a meeting of fellow mums all the more important.
“This is our first official outing, I guess,” Lilaramani said.
“It’s nice to see other mums going through the same things, or the same aged babies, or the same problems and the dramas.”
When your family can’t come to visit
Dana Burfeind is also missing the support of relatives.
Her parents live in the United States and were going to come to Australia for the birth of her second daughter, Lucy.
That was before COVID-19.
“It’s just heartbreaking to think that Lucy could be a year old or 18 months before my parents get to meet her,” Burfeind said.
“That’s really sad. We do a lot of FaceTime and video and all that, but it’s not quite the same.”
‘It takes a village’
First-time mum Ruby Ludski is one of the chattiest people in the group, asking questions and clearly enjoying the company of other women like her.
She said she had been looking forward to a gathering like this ever since Penny was born nearly six months ago.
But just as she was getting ready to venture out, the lockdowns began.
“Everything got cancelled, all in one week,” she said.
“It was so shattering. I started looking for online mothers’ groups, but they didn’t really exist.
“It takes a village to raise a child, but I had literally no village.”
But now a village is starting to build, she said.
“This is the first mothers’ group with mothers with similar aged babies I’ve been to,” Ludski said.
“It’s so nice.”
– ABC / Jessica van VonderenJump to next article