Pandemic babies – support is key

Ben, Rebecca with thier daughters Leora and. Pictures: Rob Carew

By Melissa Meehan

When Adina was born, her sister Leora couldn’t see her for the first five days.

Covid-19 meant that while Adina’s dad Ben could go to the hospital, three-year-old Leora had to wait at home.

Caulfield mum of two Rebecca Jacobs said giving birth during lockdown was a weird experience.

Already a mum to Leora, Rebecca says she knew what she was getting herself into.

But throw in a pandemic and the experience was completely different.

And on top of the usual pregnancy, birth and newborn things – Adina was born during Passover, a Jewish holiday when you have to eat certain foods. Not just anything.

But because of Covid-19 the hospital couldn’t allow outside caterers in, meaning no Kosher foods were available.

This meant they couldn’t cater to her dietary requirements so had to rely on food deliveries from her husband and family.

“I guess that just added another layer to the already stressful time,” Rebecca said.

And with Ben only able to visit for a couple of hours at a time, Rebecca found herself on her own.

There often wasn’t someone to hold the baby when she needed a shower or some sleep.

And with her mum and many other family members living in Sydney, they didn’t even get to meet Adina until much later – thanks to border lockdowns.

“I would have never put a screen in front of her face before the pandemic, but I had to during the pandemic,” Rebecca said.

“That’s how she bonded with our interstate family members, which is really special that we could that – but also really sad.”

It’s been a different way of growing up too.

Leora had adventures to the shops, or picnics with friends from the start.

But Adina had so many months at home before that was even an option.

“You know in Home Alone (the movie) and Kevin goes to Manhattan for the first time – that is what is was like for my daughter on her first visit to Coles,” she laughs.

“She was so tired from that first visit – I mean she was still young but she used all her energy to look around.

Rebecca, a nurse at The Happy Baby clinic, says she feels for first-time mums who went through the pandemic with nothing to compare it to.

She said so many parents had come into the clinic worried about their kids and for issues that would normally be picked up by a maternal health nurse – but difficult to diagnose over a phone consultation.

“I’m just so lucky that I’m in a profession that I don’t have to worry too much because I know what I am talking about and that I have support and connections,” she said.

“But there are so many people out there that haven’t got those supports and for them it’s been tough.”