Today’s post is a guest post from Lorraine, a member of our community. Many thanks to her for sharing her writing with us.
So we finally have a release date from the year of hell. The predicament I’ve found myself in is that I have reacted in completely the opposite way to what I was expecting. I hope that by putting what I am experiencing out in the open, it will help others realise that it’s more common than we think and that if we talk about it, it feels that little bit easier.
Brief background: my name is Lorraine and I am a single parent to a seven-year-old boy called Riley, who was diagnosed with autism at age two and a half.
I have always been very open and honest about my struggles with being a mum, including being diagnosed with postnatal depression and how completely out of my depth I felt (and still do the majority of the time).
The thing I realised straight away though was that the moment your child is born, your life is not your own and any spontaneity goes right out the window! Going on a night out was a military operation, and of course when you did leave the house, there were occasions when you hadn’t even walked into the pub and the phone would ring with “You have to come home, he’s thrown up in his bed”!
So when lockdown began, although it was a complete shock and extremely hard to get my head around, I slowly came to the conclusion that for me, it wasn’t that much of a difference. I could never just go out anyway and there was absolutely zero pressure to go anywhere, or to do as much as humanly possible in a 48-hour time period whenever the weekend comes around. I found it was my friends who had partners at home who were struggling the most because before lockdown, they could just go out, or at least it appeared that way, so their change was bigger. They also had children, young ones at that, but their partner was at home so they could just go out.
It felt for me that we were all in the same boat, no one was doing anything and so I didn’t feel I was missing out.
When Boris announced all restrictions would be lifted in June, I went into what can only be described as a meltdown in my head.
So for me, one of the main worries amongst a million other thoughts that have decided to join me now the world is being freed is that I must fit in a completely unrealistic amount of outings and holidays through the summer, otherwise I’ll have wasted it all!
Must book a holiday, surely it’s time to finally buy that camper van and travel round Europe showing my son some culture, when – let’s face it – the trip on the bus to town ends up in a screaming match and you wish you hadn’t bothered.
My mind is still racing and I don’t want to face up to the fact that I will have to listen to friends talking about their boozy weekends or just being able to leave the house to do whatever they want when they want.
This has also taken me back in time to how it was when Riley was a baby and I thought “I must take him out every day, he needs to be stimulated, he’s a week old, why haven’t I got a routine sorted and why oh why have I not managed to brush my teeth or shower for a week!? He doesn’t do anything yet and I have managed to achieve nothing.” I used to cry when my family left because I didn’t want to be alone, so I can’t imagine how hard it is for new parents during this pandemic.
If you feel like this, you’re not alone.
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