Pregnancy was exciting and terrifying so let’s help new mothers never feel alone

One of the most exciting but terrifying experiences of my life was being pregnant.

Maybe it was because I was an older mum at 38 and had gone through IVF, but my normal “get on with it” attitude gave way to anxiety and a sense of being out of control.

I started to get quite clingy to my hubby Steve – so much so that he came with me to every single hospital appointment. He was there to hold my hand and offer comfort.

Those early months are testing – every hospital scan, blood test and check-up is nerve-wracking. But when you see a nurse or doctor in person, and they reassure you that there is nothing to worry about, you sigh with relief and relax.

That human contact is so important for any new mum-to-be.

Steve also wanted to be present every step of the way. He wanted to be there for me; to understand what was going on so that he could make sure I was safe.

Being pregnant is also thrilling for family and friends. My mum came to stay with me, and it was a lovely bonding time for us both.

She cooked for me and made sure I got plenty of rest. She did what mums do, fuss and faff, and I loved it. And my mates threw a baby shower when I was made to feel special, loved and safe.

So imagine being pregnant in lockdown. Access to midwives is via the phone; in many cases you have to attend scans by yourself, and there is the constant anxiety of potentially giving birth without your loved one by your side.

These are all things my pregnant friend Christine Lampard, who is expecting her second child in April, has had to contend with.

Of course she is thrilled, but she also referred to the difficulty of being pregnant during Covid. She hasn’t been able to see her family – her parents haven’t been able to touch her bump.

She says the level of uncertainty leaves you feeling “overprotective” and “cautious”. She said of the birth: “I would like Frank alongside me – I don’t want to do that on my own.”

Covid has meant women going through terminations by themselves, parents visiting premature babies separately, fathers missing out on ultrascans and births, grandparents missing out on holding their grandchildren, and the isolation of bringing your baby home and having no visitors.

The mental health of pregnant mothers cannot be underestimated.

Pregnant Big Brother star Kate Lawler tearfully revealed she was “freaking out”. She said on her social media: “I miss my loved ones. I miss hugs and face-to-face chats.”

My heart goes out to all pregnant women in lockdown. They have had to endure such isolating restrictions. So if you know someone who
is expecting, please reach out to them and help them to feel they are not forgotten.