On Emerging from Lockdown

Humans have a unique capacity for adaptability. This is often seen as a trait, something you either have or you don’t, an asset to put on your CV that hopefully not everyone believes themselves capable of, giving you that extra edge. If anything though, this past year has proven just how quickly we are able to become used to something and how easily we are able to adapt to a new definition of ‘normal’.

If I think about how I was feeling a year ago, I can identify that things are very different now. The early months of 2020 filled me with anxiety; I was particularly fearful of the discovery of this new form of Coronavirus in the world. I diligently read the news, falsely believing that if I had all the information then I was being provided with some kind of assurance or security. As the news broke about the effects this disease was having across world, I became more and more anxious. I saw no way that th­­e UK could be prepared for its arrival. 

I was baffled by the lack of action from authority figures, exasperated by the fact that it seemed for several years they had been trying to find any excuse to close the borders and now, when we could finally use our island status to our advantage, this was negated. So, come March when we finally entered into national lockdown – although we were thrown into a scenario that seemed entirely alien and completely dystopian – it did not take long for me to feel a great sense of relief and ultimately joy at not being asked to do anything that may pose a risk to my own, or my loved ones’ health.

April 2021 brings to the fore a very different set of feelings. The vaccine rollout is going well, although I worry about the effectiveness of something that hasn’t yet undergone long term testing. I don’t think this is unusual, and it hasn’t stopped me from getting my first jab. If there’s even the slightest chance that this will make us safer, I’m happy to oblige. News about potential blood-clots frightened me, but the risks involved with taking the contraceptive pill are far greater, yet that’s never been a national conversation, but that’s a piece for another time. 

I had quite an extreme reaction to my first vaccine, but this doesn’t appear unusual amongst young people and in the weeks following I have thankfully been fine. It was strange though, getting my first vaccine; I didn’t feel excited and in turn, that made me feel guilty. Getting my vaccination hasn’t posed a change in any of my behaviour. Those with vaccinations are still susceptible to getting the virus and passing it on to others, but hopefully the risk of its effects is minimized. I’m scared that having had the vaccine I could still pick it up and be asymptomatic, posing more of a threat to people I love.

Similarly, I’m struggling to summon any excitement for the roadmap out of lockdown. The self-critical voice in my mind is inclined to call me cynical but the rational part of me thinks its realism. We have been here before. It feels like over the last year the country has been plunged in and out of different forms of lockdown. The rules have been unclear, the use of the word guidance is vague, and I would argue that the North is one of those areas that has suffered disproportionately. 

Some have decided to make their own rules and others have diligently stuck to what has been suggested. Within all of this it hasn’t felt like decisions at a governmental level have been sensibly made. This apparent insistence to get the economy going again has consistently harmed the defence against the virus on numerous fronts. I’m reminded of one of the definitions of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For a large part of the past year this seems to be what has been happening, the same tactics over and over again with the expectation of different outcomes.

I’m to be forgiven for not being too excited about large swathes of the economy reopening on Monday. I will not be visiting a food and drink outlet to sit outside and endure a meal. I will not be clambering to get myself onto public transport in order to meet six friends outside for a long overdue catch-up. I will not be traipsing round retail outlets just because I can. I’ve never been to and do not intend to start going to a gym. I’m not even that upset about the fact I haven’t been able to get my hair cut for nine months. Lockdown has helped me to learn what it is I really need in my life and a lot of what was considered part of my ‘normal’, I don’t necessarily miss. I’ve become extremely attuned to the world we now live in. 

However, as with everyone, there are some things I ache to do. I want to see my grandparents, having not seen them for over a year, even if our regular FaceTimes do provide me with a level of entertainment I didn’t think possible. I would love to go to a gig. I miss live music and the rituals surrounding it. My boyfriend and I miss being able to go out for food – that was one of our regular treats. And I know there’s the opportunity to do that now, however the anxiety I feel is high. 

I don’t think I’m alone, but particularly for my age group (mid-twenties) I feel there’s pressure to be raring to go again, like there’s this insistence that we can’t wait to get back in pubs, see our friends and travel to the workplace. I feel the media have created a narrative where it is young people who are most likely to break lockdown rules and that we’re the age group who are the most fed up with restrictions. But if I look honestly at my own feelings, and if I listen to my peers, then this doesn’t seem to be the case. Yes, there are things we all rightly miss but actually the anxiety around getting the virus is real. And most of the time I don’t think my age group are worrying about what would happen to them should they contract it (although it seems that nobody knows just how different peoples’ bodies will react), but are more concerned with contracting it and passing it onto a loved one. 

Many people have had massive changes in circumstances due to the pandemic. A lot of young adults have found themselves back in the family home for a variety of reasons; losing work, not wanting to isolate alone, needing support, or finding that they need to offer support themselves to other family members. Many young adults are finding themselves living with people who may be more vulnerable even if they are not. 

This narrative of having a carefree attitude and just wanting to be able to get on and do what we want is simply that – a narrative. I currently live with my mother, who has an underlying health condition. The nature of her condition means her immune system can be easily compromised, however there has been little advice from the medical community on how Coronavirus may affect it. As a family we have been meticulously careful about Coronavirus for over a year now. Journeys that would usually require public transport, I have walked. I did not visit a bar or restaurant when they reopened last summer. I have done any non-essential shopping online and found innovative ways to celebrate birthdays and Christmas. We as a family have been so careful, it is nonsensical to change that now. 

I sometimes wonder if my response is still disproportionate but if there’s anything my twenties and the last year are teaching me, it’s that it doesn’t matter if anyone believes I’m overreacting, it is only important how I feel. Five years ago, I lost my uncle to seasonal flu and so my response to the pandemic has been different to what it may have been before that happened. I have a real fear of losing someone to an illness like this, as I’ve seen it happen. And I’ve seen it happen extremely quickly. I was abruptly introduced to the world of intensive care units and ventilators and last year’s reporting on the pandemic quickly started to bring up all those feelings again. 

My story isn’t unique. There will be many people who have had loved ones suffer from difficult illnesses, those who have lifelong underlying health conditions and those who have lost loved ones in traumatic and unexpected circumstances. It is okay that I feel the way that I do. I wanted to write this because I was feeling isolated. I had a conversation with the job centre on Tuesday in which I came away feeling panicked and pressured. I am genuinely fearful of the consequences of being ‘in’ the world. 

I am of the mindset that we should all just try and be that little bit more patient. The reopening of areas like hospitality on Monday is of little consequence to me when I am still unable to travel the length of time I would need to in order to visit my grandparents. It seems like extremely poor compensation. I still have friends who work in that industry (I am lucky in that I left just over a year ago) and I really feel for the levels of anxiety they’re experiencing and the confusion they feel over being asked to do certain things that aren’t expected of everyone.

I’m really fortunate in that my year of practical unemployment has happened to land at this point in everyone’s lives and I’ve been consistently grateful that I haven’t had to put myself in any compromising positions. But I know plenty of people who have. The argument that the economy must be restarted favors some members of society over others. All those employees on minimum wage, often doing the jobs that are the most high-risk, aren’t necessarily going to reap the benefits of that.

If I had it my way, I would wait until every member of the adult population had been offered their first vaccination. As a country, we’ve come such a long way from where we were last year. There has been intense loss, major sacrifices and it does now look like maybe we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just know I’d be far more comfortable if we were given the opportunity to wait until we were firmly in that light, instead of still tentatively taking our final few steps through that unfamiliar dark. 

For everyone, it will take time to adjust to whatever it is the world wants us to do next. Some people may feel naturally inclined to return to previous behaviour and for others, like myself, that transition will be much harder. The simple act of socialising with people I love requires far more energy now than it used to. For some people, the act of being forced to return to work on Monday may be a terrifying prospect. 

I don’t know when I will feel safe meeting people in a public place like I used to, maybe it will be a case of when I’m forced to re-enter the world as I get a job then that will be when I have to face it. Maybe the choices that I currently have the privilege of making are keeping me locked in an element of fear. I don’t know. What I do know is that for me the route out of lockdown will be taken with care. I will not be throwing myself into situations I don’t feel are safe. I will be trying to push through this last part having thankfully not experienced this virus in anyone close to me. 

I also know there are things I have learned and experienced over the last year that I want to keep. I have found so much joy in the act of simply being without the pressures of what society used to consider ‘normality’. I have spent more time outdoors and more time with myself. Even in amongst all the madness and turmoil that parts of the past year have brought I have actually been the happiest I have ever been. However long it takes me to feel comfortable returning to those elements of ‘normal’ we are destined to keep, the happiness and the sense of calm I have experienced through large parts of the last year are the things I intend to prioritise. If we are being offered the chance to find different ways of living then I want to embrace that, and surely, I’m not the only one. 

Saffron Rain lives and writes in Stockport. She was born and raised around Manchester, only moving away to get her degree and subsequent MA in English Lit in Sheffield. During this time she wrote ardently on the North, particularly female writers and filmmakers. 

Her preferred form is the personal essay and she enjoys writing about topics that she connects to on a personal level. Some of these have appeared in independent publications and she shares longer pieces on her own blog. She loves to read, particularly women, and will take any opportunity to crowbar Joan Didion into a conversation. 


Grief and Loss: the unexpected corner of social media that is a source of collective comfort

After losing her dad suddenly in 2017, Hannah set up the supper club, Grief Eats, as a way to meet other young people who were grieving whilst honouring her Dad’s love of cooking. Here she explores grief in the digital age, the online platforms offering support networks and the Northern women helping others understand and talk about loss.

It is a well-known fact that what you see on social media is often a veneer; a curated selection of life’s best moments that contribute to an aesthetically pleasing grid. For many, social media – and Instagram especially – offers a slice of escapism; a place where you can go to dream up brand new wardrobes and future sunny getaways, or lust after interiors you cannot afford. While it can be extremely easy to whittle away time getting lost in perfection, sometimes what we actually crave is something much rawer, more un-filtered and fraying at the edges. Something that represents our everyday lives. 

Grief and loss are topics you might think do not have a rightful place on Instagram but in reality, it is quite the opposite. Grief – in whatever form it may take – is something that will affect us all at some point in our lives and, unfathomably, the pandemic has meant many more young people are experiencing it too soon. To read or write about grief in the presence of strangers on the internet may seem strange or daunting, but for many it is a much-needed cathartic outlet, serving as a platform that provides a safe, supportive space when traditional bereavement support is limited. During a lockdown where so many of us do not have a shoulder to lean on when we need it most, it seems like the perfect place. 

The area of Instagram dedicated to grief is the one I find to be most authentic. There are no guises, no attempts for perfection. People talk openly about their losses and experiences of grief in a way that is entirely refreshing. For the majority of us who have sadly lost someone too soon, we feel angry, upset and isolated – even more so during this past year. The platform allows us to come together and to share our day-to-day experiences, although not just the sad ones. We may be grieving, but we also find ourselves inspired by each other’s resilience and discover a collective comfort in sharing past memories. We can laugh together at the terrible, misjudged comments we’ve received over the years. 

Back in December 2019, I came up with an idea to start up a supper club series in Leeds, for people navigating loss in their 20s and 30s, calling it ‘Grief Eats’. After losing my own dad at the age of 24, I felt like this sort of thing was missing – and especially in the North. Both eager and nervous in equal measure, I held my first sold-out supper club in my own home in February 2020 (albeit a bit rustic and makeshift – it was my first go), and I was so excited for it to turn into something bigger, and for young people to realise they weren’t alone in what they were going through. But as the pandemic took hold and thus no way of hosting supper clubs, I quickly realised that I would need another avenue. Instagram seemed like a suitable place to continue with Grief Eats in the interim, and perhaps even open up an opportunity to write about my own journey with grief.

In all honesty, I never envisaged nor felt a personal need to create a space on Instagram to talk about my experiences and felt convinced that face-to-face interaction would be more meaningful than online. But as I began to share my thoughts and musings on the topics of grief, food and anything else that came to mind, I found myself taken aback by the reception. In turn, I have discovered an entire online community and area of Instagram that represented something I didn’t know I needed. 

While I don’t intend to post on social media forever and feel excited to get back to the original plan for Grief Eats, the ‘grief’ space on Instagram really has been a lifeline at times, and I hope my posts have helped others in their journey too. I would also like to mention a number of other inspiring women in the North who are similarly opening up the conversation around grief and loss, and who I am lucky enough to share this online space with. When I lost my dad at the age of 24, I didn’t know anyone my age who had been through something similar. These women, having experienced their own losses, are bravely ensuring this doesn’t have to be the case: 

Jo Ritchie and Faye Dawson: Projecting Grief

Projecting Grief is a portraiture and interview project which explores the use of creativity to help heal from loss. Jo started this project after losing her own brother in 2017, and photographs those who are using creative skill as a distraction, a relief or an expression of their grief. The beautiful portraits are accompanied by the person’s story, written by Faye. Jo and Faye are based in Leeds.

Gwennaëlle Cook

After taking a break from her art practice, Gwen has now returned and has found that it has provided her with a space to process her thoughts around grief. Gwen lost her dad in 2004 and her mum in 2017. Her collages are thoughtful and expressive, and often capture feelings of grief you find difficult to put into words. Gwen in based in Leeds. 

The Everyday Fertility

Kate, based in Manchester, started an Instagram page during lockdown seeking to normalise the conversation around infertility and baby loss. Kate has been extremely brave to share her own journey and is supporting others going through the same by opening up the conversation on fertility issues. 

Words: Hannah Borkin
Feature image: Courtesy of Projecting Grief

At Home in the Community: The North West photographer taking portraits and giving back

Words: Hannah Molyneux

As the country begins to close its doors once more, it seems strange to think that, for so many weeks, our worlds have ended on our doorsteps. This year so far has been fraught with unease and uncertainty for many of us, with the ‘stay at home’ message changing our lives overnight. But that’s not to say that 2020 hasn’t also had its moments of joy, a realisation that Warrington-based photographer Kate Hennessey came to when she began her doorstep portraits back in May.

With lockdown and days spent at home becoming a reality for both of us, Kate spent time in her local community, documenting daily life in a pandemic. “It began with requests from local friends and clients,” she tells me, “marking and celebrating occasions like weddings that had been postponed.” Over the course of the month, Kate would go on to visit and photograph over 200 families on their doorsteps. “Overwhelmed doesn’t come close, and I have never been prouder to call myself Warringtonian,” says Kate. It was a real labour of love, with hours spent not only photographing and editing but also travelling around the area. “It was inclusive across the whole of Warrington. I visited so many streets that I’ve never been to before and planned so many routes – I could be a taxi driver now!” Kate laughs.

The subjects are all different, but the warmth that shines out of each photograph is just the same. Candid, unposed – each photo captures the real emotion in the lives of ordinary families finding reasons to smile through uncertain times. Kate reflects how, for lots of the people she photographed as part of this campaign, their doorstep portrait shoot was a welcome opportunity to shake off their pyjamas and sweatpants and embrace the idea of hair and makeup for the first time in weeks.

“It felt like quite a traditional thing to do, something that previous generations might have done,” says Kate. “Especially the newborn pictures – introducing them to the world on the doorstep of their home.” Kate’s doorstep portraits offer a glimpse into daily life during a global pandemic – the smiling faces of children missing their school friends but staying cheerful; the flags and bunting of VE Day celebrations. Some reflect the reality of the time: “I’ve had a lot of requests from doctors and nurses, and you could tell they were physically shattered.”

With requests for portraits flooding in, Kate realised that, by photographing the community, she could give something back to that same community. Each shoot took place in exchange for a donation to Warrington Foodbank, totalling an amazing £4000 from an original target of £250. “What is usually a space for community members to come and receive advice” – the foodbank runs a full range of services including facilities like debt counselling – “is now a sea of welfare packages. They have had to scale back volunteer support due to COVID guidelines, yet they are far more inundated than they have ever been before. The funds we have collectively raised will go a long way and are hugely appreciated. They are raring to get back to some sort of normality and support those who need it most, not just with food parcels but with a safe place to go to chat to a friendly face.”

I ask Kate what it is that she will take away from the doorstep portraits she has taken and the families she has met. “Solidarity and community. I’ve never felt so much of it.”

Find more of Kate’s work on Instagram @clickedbykate and clickedbykate.com.

A beginner’s guide to yoga in lockdown

Words: Rachael Chrystal

There are very few people who have been untouched by the change, uncertainty and fear that the pandemic has brought. This has had a huge impact on our mental well-being, with significant numbers reporting stress, anxiety and low mood associated with lockdown and COVID-19. Our usual exercise routines have been disrupted, meaning that lots of us are feeling the lack of physical activity and the resulting negative effect on our mental health. 

This has led many people to look for ways to manage their psychological well-being as well as bring more movement into their day. As the lockdown restrictions are lifted, this brings new stresses and worries as we try to work towards a new normality, despite things being very different.  

Never before has yoga been more needed – yoga provides us with the space and time to relax and connect with ourselves, as well as giving us some much needed time for physical movement. For me, time on my mat gives me time for my brain to unravel and lets me release the tension, fear and unknown of the ongoing situation through movement and my breath. It simultaneously gives me energy and helps me to calm my anxious thoughts.  

Rachael Chrystal

The good news is that you can do yoga anywhere and you don’t need to get changed or gather any special equipment. You can use whatever time you have – starting with as little as 3 minutes – and you will notice the benefit to your physical and psychological well-being after just a few short sessions. 

Yoga alone is not a cure for mental health difficulties and it is recommended that you also seek professional support via your GP or appropriate local services if you are struggling. Yoga can however be used alongside more traditional treatments to support good mental health.  

Here are my tips for starting a home yoga practice, along with a simple but effective routine to settle your mind and gently move your body. This is suitable for beginners as well as seasoned yogis – the poses are still beneficial whether you are doing them for the 1st or the 1000th time. The sequence below will take 5-20 minutes depending on how long you choose to stay in each posture.  

How to set up your space for yoga: 

Ideally find a quiet, private space where you have space to move around. In an ideal world we would all have a luxury yoga studio adjoining our houses, but in the absence of this find a space that works for you – it most likely won’t be perfect but that’s ok. It’s nice to add a candle which you might light whenever you practice, or some plants – making the space inviting adds a certain sense of ceremony for when you do practice and can make it feel extra relaxing.  

Use a yoga mat if you have one, or you can put a towel or rug down on the floor. A blanket and a cushion can be helpful to have handy to use to help you feel comfortable.  

Grounding and arriving:

Start off by lying on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. You can place your hands on your belly. Breathe in and out through your nose gently, without forcing anything, just feeling what comes naturally. Continue to breathe here for a couple of minutes, closing your eyes if you wish.  


This pose is great for bringing your attention back into the body and gently mobilising the spine. It is simple and quick and makes a huge difference to how your back feels! 

Come onto your hands and knees, with your hands under shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.  

Inhale and lift the tailbone and the chest, arching the back, feeling the collar bones open – this is “cow” pose. From here, exhale, rounding the spine, pushing the floor away with your hands, looking down at the floor, coming into “cat”.  

Continue to move through cat and cow, guided by the breath for 10 repetitions.  

Extended Child’s Pose: 

Child’s Pose

This pose is my go to for whenever I need to switch off and focus on my breath. Because of the inward energy a Child’s Pose creates, it works really well for calming anxious thoughts. It’s also a good stretch for the back, shoulders and hips.  

From your hands and knees, sit back onto your heels, with your forehead resting on the mat. Keep your arms outstretched in front of you, palms flat on the mat and feel a stretch under your shoulders. If your hips don’t easily rest back on your heels, placing a pillow or cushion under your hips can really help. Feel the breath move through the body and notice the upper back expanding with the inhale. Rest here for as long as you need – anywhere from 5 breaths to 15 minutes. 

Downward Facing Dog:

Downward Facing Dog

A yoga staple, this is an energising pose which stretches out the whole body.  

From extended Child’s Pose (above), come back up to all fours, then tuck your toes under, pressing through the hands and lift up your knees, coming into Downward Facing Dog. Bend your knees as much as you need to start with, keeping the back long. Once you are comfortable, straighten your legs, bringing the heels towards the floor. Gently roll the shoulders away from your ears and feel your shoulder blades down your back. Hold here for 3-5 breaths or longer if you feel comfortable. To come down, exhale, whilst bending your knees and lowering down to the floor.  

If you have time, you can repeat the sequence up to this point so far as many times as you like, depending on how long you have to practice. Following this, move on to the below:  

Bridge Pose:

Bridge Pose

This pose helps to open the chest muscles and increases mobility in the spine, and is great if you have been on the laptop for too long.

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hands resting by your sides. Inhale and tip your pelvis forward slightly, press through your feet and lift your hips as high as is comfortable. Hold here for 3-5 breaths, pressing through your feet and engaging your glute muscles to support your hips. Slowly lower down, rolling down each vertebra at a time.  

Legs up the wall:

Legs up the wall

This pose is deeply restorative and rejuvenating perfect –  just before bedtime or whenever you need a rest.  

Sit sideways against a wall, then lie down and swing your legs up so that your legs are outstretched, your feet resting on the wall and your back is flat on the floor.  Get your hips as close as is comfortable to the wall. Rest your hands at the side of your body or on your belly. Close your eyes and rest here for as long as is comfortable, up to 10 minutes.  

Why not aim to try this sequence three times over the coming week? Commit to when you plan to do this in your diary at the start of the week, which will make you more likely to stick to your plan.  Making a note of how you feel at the start and end of the session and any improvements can be helpful.  

If you enjoyed this short sequence, please do get in touch and let us know how you got on. 

About Rachael:

Rachael Chrystal is the founder of Conscious Calm Yoga + Wellbeing. She helps individuals improve their health and wellbeing through an intuitive process using yoga and related practices and firmly believes that yoga is for all bodies regardless of ability or size.  Rachael also works with corporate organisations to help them to develop the wellbeing and happiness of their staff and clients, as well as teaching specialist public yoga classes in Manchester (currently online).  The rest of the time Rachael is busy working as an NHS GP, where her interest and expertise in helping people improve their health stems from.    

For more information or to join one of Rachael’s online classes, go to: www.consciouscalm.co.uk

Follow @consciouscalmyoga

Pregnancy in lockdown: women supporting women

Words: Helen Brady

Becoming a parent is often described as one of the most exciting, beautiful, life changing experiences of someone’s life; terrifying, but in the best possible way. And that is when normal circumstances apply. Yet in current times, normal circumstances do not apply, and the impact of the COVID-19 crisis is adding a level of uncertainty into pregnancy that parents-to-be could not have planned for.

Graphic: Hannah McCreath

The global pandemic has meant a new ‘normal’ has had to be established in all walks of life, including across maternity wards up and down the country. Appointments have been reduced to the essentials required to stay safe, classes have gone online where appropriate, and new guidelines have been introduced around access and birthing partners in birthing facilities. In the UK, pregnant women have been grouped into the ‘vulnerable’ category, and official advice states that they should practice strict social distancing along with other stringent guidelines.

A hand holding a video game remote control

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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

There are however a band of brilliant northern women and businesses that are providing advice, support, and most importantly, lending an ear to those that need it. They are creating forums to allow people to connect, offering reassurances that it is fine to be worried, and adapting their core business practices to adjust to the new climate.

Jemma Wootton is a registered massage therapist who usually specialises in pregnancy and postnatal massage. With Jemma’s own journey and experiences into motherhood underpinning everything she does, she is also an advocate for both physical and mental maternal health. She explained how she has pivoted her energies and business to adapt to the current climate, while continuing to offer support for as many new Mum’s and Mum’s-to-be as possible.

“I have created a Facebook community, Maternity and Wellbeing – North West, to support both pregnant ladies and new Mum’s during this time. There is so much negativity around the changes that have been put in place for giving birth and the restrictions on social interaction so I wanted to provide a place to drown out some of the noise and create a safe, calm and supportive platform to share knowledge, experience and positivity. The focus is on self-care and staying well, finding out about options for birth, keeping up to date with any changes to maternity services and sharing positive experiences with each other to boost morale and keep the amazing act of bringing a new human into the world at the centre of the conversation.”

It is important for online spaces such as the one Jemma has set up to exist, so that pregnant women and new parents know that their worries and concerns are valid, justified and completely normal. A nurse, and soon–to–be–Mum shared some of the main concerns pregnant women may be feeling,

“Anxieties may exist around attendance at maternity appointments and the risk of coming into contact with COVID-19. Also, what impact this may have on birth options such as home births. What if birthing partners have COVID-19 at the time of delivery or when leaving hospital? Not being able to access antenatal appointments and meet other expectant parents could also be another worry. (Although a lot of services are offering virtual appointments.)”

Concerns and worries can also continue once baby is born and everyone is back at home,

“Depending on how long this goes on for, this may mean that no family members or friends could meet the baby. As you need support and input from others around you at this time, how will this impact on the parents and the baby?”

A close up of a piece of paper

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Image credit: Robyn Swain

Emma Cottam is one of the many business owners hoping to help ease these concerns. She is the editor of Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums and the Host of Positive Wellbeing Podcast for Mums. She is also the owner of Isabella & Us, named after her two-year-old, and a full-time photography teacher. Emma explained,

“The Positive Wellbeing Zine for Mums is an independent magazine around motherhood, self-care and wellbeing, and is the perfect way to support Mum’s through this time. The magazine acts as a vehicle for helping Mums to make that time for them and to read something that is supportive, nourishing, and positive during this time. Issue 8 is due out in May 2020.”

Normally physically published quarterly, there will be a special digital-only edition of the magazine out in mid-May and there are over 35 episodes of the Positive Wellbeing for Mums Podcast available to listen to from the usual Podcast libraries.

Melissa Howard is a Strategic Intervention Coach with a focus on mindset perspective. She is supporting women in pregnancy during the COVID-19 crisis, but is also importantly looking beyond that, past the end of lockdown.

“My motivation is to help pregnant women in self-isolation overcome feelings of overwhelm, fear and loss of control. The long-term effects that self-isolation can have on a person could last for months and for some, years. Having supported a lot of Mums, regaining their sense if identity and instilling a routine of self-care and love is an area I am passionate about supporting.”

Melissa has launched a series of short courses for women to help them tune out of the noise, and back into themselves.

For official advice and guidance on Coronavirus and Pregnancy, please visit the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.