Wānaka Sun       

Many new parents in Wānaka have felt the impact of Covid 19

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 24 Dec, 2020 | By Staff reporter

In any other year, I would have been so excited for my new baby to meet the family. I'd have the camera ready as he encountered his grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins for the very first time. In any other year, my mother would be round day in, day out (maybe even a little too often), helping with household chores whilst I got some well needed rest. And, my partner's siblings would be at the top of the babysitting list for when we were in need of some quality time together. 

Of course, it isn't any other year. It's 2020. This is the year where women in the UK had to spend most of their birthing experience alone, where fathers couldn't attend ultrasound appointments, and families were completely cut off from one another. 

As a new mum in Wānaka, I feel very lucky. Apart from a brief lockdown period, I have been able to attend antenatal classes, hang out at mother and baby groups, and explore this beautiful area with my baby. From free coffee groups at Plunket to incredible breastfeeding help just a phone call away, this whole town has been our support network. Yet, despite this, I can't help but miss our family.  

Stuck in yet another lockdown in the UK, unable to cross the New Zealand border, are my baby's entire family. At nearly four months old, our baby hasn't met a single one of them. In any other year, they would have flown out to meet him by now.

Without them, parenthood has definitely been a challenge. There's no extra pair of hands to keep on top of the laundry, no one to cuddle baby while I have a quick shower, and no one to witness his milestones with. 

And we're not alone. I have met lots of new parents in Wānaka raising a newborn without the help of their family, due to Covid border restrictions.

Stripped from that extra support network, it's no surprise that PlunketLine has reported a 75% increase in mental health related phone calls in November. My partner and I are lucky to have such awesome friends in Wānaka but that doesn't mean it's been easy.

As Christmas is about bringing the family together, it's OK to feel sad if your loved ones are stuck overseas.

For now, all we can do is enjoy our babies and look forward to the day that they finally meet their grandparents.

Families facing difficulties over the festive period can contact PlunketLine which is open 24 hours a day. Upper Clutha Plunket will be closed from December 24 to January 18, unless by appointment. 

Read edition 1006 of the Wānaka Sun here.



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