Finding reassurance

I drove my car this week for the first time in 27 days. I went to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription and came straight back home. My husband has done our essential grocery shopping and apart from bike rides to exercise and entertain the boys, we’ve remained home the entire lockdown.

It felt strange driving a car on our deserted roads. I actually felt more relaxed and happier when I arrived back home.  The past month on lockdown has been about finding reassurance in the information available to me.

I’m sure this is the case for many others. The trouble is sometimes, knowing where to find that reassuring information from.

We can’t compare New Zealand to other countries. While we can use their information and experiences to better inform our government’s decisions, we are tracking our own path and defense of this virus.

While some may say it has been an overreaction, lockdown has undeniably been the right choice for our country.

The level of deaths per day in some of the countries around the world is just incomprehensible. In a country like ours those numbers would be absolutely horrific. No one would be unaffected. We are just too small. If the virus had followed its own trajectory, without intervention, we all would have known someone who had died.

Jacinda Ardern and our government have saved lives. Not just the Labour Party but all our cabinet ministers for working together regardless of their policy beliefs or party agenda.  By staying at home and following the rules, so many of us have helped to save lives.

I am proud of that, no matter how frustrating and hard it has been at times.

I have had about three or four sources of information that I have entrusted over this time for my information. Firstly our government announcements and news updates most days at 1pm or 6pm have been invaluable and aimed at a level where most people can comprehend the information without too much medical or scientific jargon. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, our Director of Health has been outstanding and alongside our Prime Minister has encouraged us as a nation to keep going even when it feels tough.

Secondly I have found the NZ Covid-19 website, Instagram account of Dr Morgan Edwards and Siouxsie Wiles at The Spinoff as my major secondary sources. I’ve actively avoided other sites, or Facebook articles shared of any other information concerning Covid-19.  Too much of the wrong information causes panic, anxiety and stress.  Let’s just stick to facts. 

The New Zealand set up dedicated site for Covid-19 is helpful. It is relevant, has the latest updates and even an entire area to help with our mental health and well-being while being stuck at home.

I contacted Dr Morgan Edwards who I began following on Instagram at the beginning of the pandemic, right before we went in to lockdown. She is a true professional, using Instagram as a platform to share helpful, correct information especially targeted towards mothers and soon-to-be mothers.

She offers her followers many a chance to ask questions and she will do her best to answer them all in a caring professional way. I have been thoroughly impressed with her range and depth of knowledge and her personable delivery of her content and information. She makes understanding Covid-19 easy!

Dr Morgan Edwards is a Specialist Anesthetist who has special interest in Obstetrics and is a mother of two young children.  Her Instagram following has ‘quadrupled’ since the lockdown began.

Dr Edwards is passionate about providing reassuring information. This way women and their families will be able to understand Covid-19, the lockdown and procedures that impact on them.

“I’m really worried about the mental health impact this pandemic might have on our pregnant, birthing and new mums. The fear of the unknown, the loss of in-person appointments and scans, the changes to birth, such as those around access for support people, and the changes to postnatal support. But all of the evidence tells us that empowering women with good information is a really positive thing. I am really proud of the community of healthcare workers that I’m part of – both in my workplace but especially on social media. I hope that in some small ways we are able to help make this time less uncertain and give women the tools and information they need to feel empowered. I am also seeing and reading some really positive and empowering stories of strong women having positive births at this time and that is just incredible.”

“I absolutely acknowledge the huge privilege I have to have a reliable job right now. I squeeze social media in when [my children are] asleep or if there’s a quiet moment at work.”

Dr Edwards suggests New Zealanders especially pregnant women, mothers and parents continue to get their information from reputable sources.

I know I have appreciated finding Dr Morgan Edwards’ Instagram during this past month and I’ve asked her a few questions myself. Her final piece of advice for all of us is:

“These are unusual and stressful times. Be kind to yourself and protect your bubble and your mental health as best you can. If you’re pregnant, trying to conceive, or have a new baby then this time might not look like how you imagined your journey through parenthood? It’s important to acknowledge and grieve that. But you can still have a positive and empowering experience! Kia kaha – you’ve absolutely got this.”

While the news media provides stories around every possible avenue of our Covid-19 saturated lives, it can all get a bit too much reading article after article. Likewise scrolling the internet, Facebook or Instagram means that information is often exaggerated or incorrect. Remember to limit your media intake!

It is beneficial to remember that taking time out to just live more slowly, appreciating all the positive things we each have to be grateful for in our bubbles has been invaluable during this time.  

I hope that as we complete the final week of level four lockdown, we will all continue to work just as hard to keep us all safe and reassured at level three.

We’ve got this, if we all work together!

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