This won’t be a post about any parenting hacks or about how fed up I am about tantrums (which of course I’m fed up about, but that’s another story for another time).
But I hope you’ll bear with me as I had to get these thoughts out of my head.
I’m watching This England, a series about Boris Johnson during the time of the outbreak of the pandemic.
As I’m watching it I’m crying. Not only for the tragedy it’s depicting but also for the trauma that it is bringing back.
When we went into the very first lockdown, naive as I might have been, I thought it would be for a few weeks and then we’d be back to ‘normal’ again before the end of the summer. Alfie was only 1,5 years old at the time. The amount of time he spent on his iPad on our bed whilst I was on work calls I don’t ever dare to think about. And I know he wasn’t the only child and we weren’t the only parents doing the same. I honestly don’t even have the bandwidth to feel guilty about it. As what were we all supposed to do?! But I still do find myself thinking of what an effect it has had on him. We will of course never know, as this isn’t a film. This isn’t Sliding Doors where we get shown two possible outcomes. This is the way that it is.
When we were going in and out of lockdowns, getting used to social distancing, face masks, hand sanitisers and skin cracking and flaking due to washing our hands at every moment possible, I thought I was fine. I thought I was coping just fine, and that whenever we would be out of ‘it’ I’d be just fine and back to ‘normal’ – whatever that is or was.
Now, watching This England and having all the feelings washing back over me it’s clear that the Pandemic has had a massive effect on me. And it got me thinking – How are we feeling, really?
Are you OK? Are you really?
Both me and my boyfriend are part of the lucky ones. We had our jobs throughout the pandemic and lockdowns, we could keep Alfie in nursery for most of the time and our families and close friends are still here with us today. I know how lucky we are.
I’m sitting here talking about the horrid feelings of the pandemic and we are ‘fine’. As in, we’re alive and so are our families. I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma that would have been if we would have lost someone close to us during lockdowns.
My family are all in another country. I wouldn’t have been able to go there if something would have happened. Thankfully nothing did happen.
I know that was the reality for a lot of people around the globe. I wasn’t forced to stand outside a window looking in on a loved one struggling in a care home or hospital and not being allowed to touch them one last time before they died. I wasn’t forced to say my last goodbyes to a loved one on a video or phone call. I wasn’t isolating away from my children for months on end so I could work saving lives, keeping people alive, helping and supporting people. But I’m still feeling some sort of sorrow now that we’re trying to stumble our way to a new ‘normal’.
We’re not in a lockdown or at the height of the pandemic anymore. I guess we’re more or less out of it in a way now. What now? The aftermath of it all, what will that look like? What about the effect it has had on people? Isolation for months. Regional lockdowns. Travel bans.
The unknown. Not knowing what to expect. Not knowing how long it would be until we could hug a friend or family member again. The isolation. The unthinkable amount of hours spent in our home, day in, day out. That is what had the biggest impact on me. That is my trauma from it all. And yes, of course I understand I’m lucky compared to many, many, far too many others. But it has still had an effect on me. And I’m sure on most people.
So – How are we feeling, really?