Mother’s Day will be a lonely affair for new mums, who’ve already experienced isolation in a pandemic – yet the “gift” of their beautiful babies, spurs them on.
Lindsay Brady’s baby boy, Theo, is just six-weeks-old and he, like every baby born during Covid-19, has arrived into an uncertain world.
“There have been serious challenges,” Lindsay, a 38-year-old mother-of-three, from Castleknock, Dublin, said.
“My husband, Eoin, sat in the car in Merrion Square for six hours through the night, while I was in labour.
“I was right beside him in the National Maternity Hospital building. That was traumatic but for a first-time parent, that’s awful.”
The birth was induced and Eoin was able to attend just before Theo was born.
Baby Theo was 7lb 3oz and born on January 27. When the mother held her son for the first time, the moment made up for every challenge.
“You forget your concerns,” she said. “The prize is to get the new baby and that part is really beautiful.”
Despite the challenges, there have been benefits to lockdown, for the family.
“Having Eoin working from home is a positive,” she said. “But it’s been harder to get appointments. Some supports feel like they’re not there.
“But I’m a member of the Mum and Baby Sanctuary in Lucan and I keep in touch with the owner, Aileen Fox.
“I received lactation support from Aileen, which was great. We did it all over Zoom.
“But it would be difficult if you hadn’t breastfed at all before.”
Little Theo may not have met many of his family members but he has new best friends in his older sister, Bo (5) and big brother, Harrison (2). “Mother’s Day is a hallmark event in many respects,” she said. “But this time round, I feel all mothers should be remembered.
“I feel lucky to have had a new baby in the pandemic. Theo brought so much joy at such a hard time.
“While everyone else is living groundhog day, I’m distracted from the world outside, with my beautiful little boy.”
First-time mother Elaine Cody (40) from Clonmel, Tipperary, gave birth to baby daughter Paige, three-months-old, on December 8.
She and husband Tom, were elated when IVF “worked first time round” and a much-wanted pregnancy lit up their lives.
“I got the news on February 25, last year and the IVF clinics closed down two weeks later,” Elaine said.
“If I hadn’t got pregnant then, I’d have had to wait. We were very lucky we got in before Covid closed everything down. I had two miscarriages before that, so to become pregnant – it was a very happy time.”
Paige was born by caesarean section and Tom was permitted to enter the labour room, just as the baby was born. “The baby was put on my chest for a few minutes, then taken off,” Elaine, a mechanical engineer said.
Things took a turn for the worst when Elaine suffered two haemorrhages and she was taken twice into the operating theatre.
She was admitted to the high-dependency unit at St Luke’s Hospital in Kilkenny. As she recovered, the new mother struggled to care for the infant alone. “It was very tough, I needed Tom with me to help lift her,” she said.
After a few days, the mother and baby left hospital and Elaine recovered at home.
“We got to be together as a family with no one coming in on us for the first month,” she said. “We all bonded nicely together as a family, as we were left to it.”
On Christmas Day, Elaine and Tom visited her mother, father and sister for an hour. But she took strict health precautions.
“I bought some PPE gowns, masks, gloves and my parents put them on and held Paige for a few minutes,” she said.
“It was lovely to be able to do that. I really enjoyed it while I was there but it was upsetting leaving, distressing.
“I worried so much about Covid. I just feel I must protect Paige.”
Elaine, who’s a member of Networking Mothers, a group who support each other through motherhood, finds the online meetings invaluable because as a “sociable” woman, the pandemic has proved very challenging.
“On Mother’s Day, I will do a video call with my sisters and mother,” she said. “I’ll wish my family were here but this is the best we can do, for now.”
First-time mother Nicole Figg (23) from Charlestown, Co Mayo, gave birth to her daughter eight weeks early, on September 5.
Amelia Mae is now six-months-old and the light of Nicole’s life.
But like all expectant mothers, Nicole experienced a solitary pregnancy. Partner Kieran Durcan (22) was not permitted to attend scans and appointments with her.
The new father was, however, allowed into the maternity room just as his daughter was being born.
Flash forward six months and Nicole and Kieran are in their little happy bubble at home with their baby daughter.
“It’s lovely to have her to myself, we have a really strong bond,” Nicole said.
On Mother’s Day Nicole and her family are going to imprint Amelia Mae’s footprints.
She is hopeful for the future and feels blessed to have had such a long time with her daughter.