How lockdown saved my sanity

While the lockdown and school closures drove many parents to the brink of insanity, for mom Amber Jordaan it was a blessing in disguise.

Amber says her firstborn, Logan (2) was a fairly easy baby. “I was one of the lucky moms who got breastfeeding right from the get go and he breastfeed up until the halfway mark of my second pregnancy.”

Amber and husband Pierre’s little girl, Lyrah-Rose, was born on 5 Feb 2020. “I knew what I was in for as she was my second child and anyone who has had a baby knows newborns are hard work. Again, I breastfed and it clicked naturally.”

But when it was time to take little Lyrah-Rose home, things didn’t go as well…

“Within the first week she started crying hysterically. I looked up colic and she seemed to fit the description. She would howl hysterically for hours on end. Getting her to sleep was a nightmare. My husband and I would tag team bouncing her on a medicine ball until she would eventually cry herself to sleep. She would work herself up so badly that I had to somehow calm her down just a bit before I could get her to latch. The paediatrician and nurse at her weekly check-ups told us that she was healthy and normal and that it was a ‘girl thing’.”

ALSO SEE: Try these techniques to soothe your baby’s colic

She was terrified of the car

Amber says her son loved car trips and would be lulled to sleep instantly by the motion of the car and the sound of the engine. But Lyrah-Rose absolutely hated the car. “She got beside herself in the car. I turned the airbags off and strapped her in on the passenger seat next to me so that I could see her, she could see me and I could sometimes entice her with a dummy to relax. I’d call my husband from the car on the side of the road sobbing my eyes out with my poor son sitting quietly in the back seat and our little girl shrill screaming in my arms. Sometimes I pulled over on the side of the road to try and breastfeed her to soothe her – she was so terrified of the car she’d gasp for breath through the tears.”

I was exhausted and feeling hopeless

“I’m a full-time mom. I wanted to be able to raise my children myself and have a hands-on approach in their early development and I am so very blessed to be able to do that. However, buying groceries within the first 6 or 7 weeks after my daughter’s birth turned into a headache with a 2-year-old and a newborn that couldn’t stand car trips. I was exhausted, desperate and was feeling hopeless.

Maybe I had made her this way with losing my mind a bit during labour? (I had a very painful, difficult natural birth) Maybe she wasn’t bonding with me the way my son did? You want the best for your children as a mom and it’s easy to come down hard on yourself in situations like this. When my husband came home from work, he was immediately hands on. He’d make me a cup of tea and take her to give me a few minutes of peace to regain my sanity.

We loved the hard lockdown

Then lockdown happened. No more trips out and dad was home full-time. Instead of me juggling two small children there were two of us to face parenting together as a team full-time. When else would this be possible? My little Lyrah-Rose blossomed. She would snuggle up on dad’s shoulder quietly and fall asleep with him on the couch, and after breastfeeding, she’d pass out with milk dribbling from her mouth next to me on the bed. No more crying. We couldn’t go anywhere so she didn’t have to be strapped into a car seat to go buy groceries. We switched to local online shopping for groceries and were all together at home.

Pierre and Lyrah-Rose

Dad and daughter bonding time

ALSO SEE: The benefits of lockdown for your family

I did the best I could to give my children the attention that they needed, but my little girl seems to be a bit more sensitive and just needed a little more time from us. With us all at home together she was afforded the nurturing and extra hands-on attention she needed. When people asked us how we were handling the lockdown we said we were loving it because our children had us both there all the time – in other circumstances we wouldn’t have been able to give all that time to them.

Family time in lockdown

Family time

My husband went back to work at level 4. But, by the time we were able to go buy groceries again and get back into the car, my little girl was a different baby. She was older and didn’t mind being strapped in her car seat and actually started falling asleep during car trips. Both children are thrilled when dad arrives home.”

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