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Mother, whose son has "spent half of his life in coronavirus lockdown", writes an open letter for parents


A Melbourne mother wrote an honest open letter about the reality of being a mother to a one-year-old during the coronavirus lockdown, and it has delighted parents around the world.

A Melbourne mother wrote an honest open letter about the reality of mothering a one-year-old during the COVID-19 lockdown (Michelle Daga pictured with her son).

Michelle Daga, her partner Jahmin, both 32, and Baby Jahlee, 1, live in an apartment with no backyard. You are three out of thousands subject to the toughest restrictions Australia has ever seen.

"My baby is turning one this week and has lived half of his life in lockdown," wrote nutritionist and obstetrician Michelle in the letter.

“Isolated and counting at home with mom and dad for six months. He's never played with another child, patted a dog, or had the opportunity to dig in the dirt.

"He has yet to meet most of his family, visit a mall, or spend a day in the playground."

Melbourne has been in phase 4 since Sunday August 2nd and will continue through at least Sunday September 13th.

During this time, residents can only drive 3 miles from their home, there is a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., and people can only leave their homes for an hour a day.

Michelle Daga, her partner Jahmin, both 32, and Baby Jahlee (picture), 1, live in an apartment without a backyard. You are three out of thousands subject to the toughest restrictions Australia has ever seen

Michelle Daga, her partner Jahmin, both 32, and Baby Jahlee (picture), 1, live in an apartment without a backyard. You are three out of thousands subject to the toughest restrictions Australia has ever seen

Michelle (pictured with Jahlee shortly before the lockdown when masks became mandatory in Melbourne) said Jahlee has yet to meet much of his family or play with another baby

Michelle (pictured with Jahlee shortly before the lockdown when masks became mandatory in Melbourne) said Jahlee has yet to meet much of his family or play with another baby

While Michelle acknowledged that she knows her situation is "not unique," she also said that it doesn't mean it isn't difficult.

"The only other faces Jahlee sees are hidden behind masks," she said.

He has no idea that food grows on trees or sprouts from the ground, only that it arrives in sacks and boxes that a man in a mask left on the front door

"And he has no idea that food grows on trees or sprouts from the ground, only that it arrives in sacks and boxes that a man in a mask left on the front door."

Michelle and Jahmin recently celebrated Jahlee's first birthday with a party for the three of them, and all 20 of their extended family came to Zoom from across the country.

"You wouldn't know about his sheltered little life to look at him," said Michelle.

“He was a baby when the lock started and couldn't even crawl. Now he's a walking, talking toddler with lots of personality and a toothy smile. & # 39;

Michelle said she noticed that Jahlee has changed a lot in the six months Melbourne was banned (Jahlee was pictured when the bans began six months ago).

Michelle said she noticed that Jahlee has changed a lot over the six months Melbourne was banned (Jahlee is pictured in the same sweater just last week).

Michelle said she noticed that Jahlee has changed a lot in the six months Melbourne was banned (Jahlee was pictured when the bans began six months ago and last week).

What are the Melbourne level 4 restrictions?

* If you live in metropolitan Melbourne on Sunday August 2nd after 6pm, Level 4 restrictions apply.

* There is a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. This means you have to be home during these hours. The only reasons to leave the house between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. are for work, medical care, and care.

* The four reasons you can leave the house remain, but there are now additional restrictions on: shopping for groceries or other essentials, exercise (applies to being outdoors and with only one other person), and permitted work.

* Caring for compassionate reasons or seeking medical treatment also remains a valid reason for leaving the home.

* Stay home as much as you can. Face covering must be used when leaving the house unless you have a legitimate reason not to do so.

Source: DHHS Victoria

In Michelle's open letter, she said that while Jahlee is "happy, healthy, alive" and "full of curiosity and laughter," she feels that he longs for more and that even he knows something is wrong. .

"That was only confirmed last week when he crawled hastily across the floor, pointed at the window, squeaked, laughed, and screeched with joy," she said.

I turned and saw two pigeons perched high on the roof of the building next door. A look on his face of joy, and then I realized that these are the first birds my one year old has ever seen. & # 39;

Michelle said she sat with Jahlee for a while and watched the birds "so peaceful, so free" before they flew away and "left us alone in those four walls again."

"Quarantined half of your life is not normal," Michelle said.

“Parenthood in a pandemic is not normal. And while I am aware that things could get worse, this is far from easy.

“Millions of others share this strange new reality with us every day. And I'm here to remind you that you are not alone.

“We hope we can all spread our wings and teach our youngsters to fly very soon. Congratulations my BABY. & # 39;

The human mother's post hit a huge chord on Facebook, with over 1,000 people responding and telling their own stories during the lockdown.

“Even in Melbourne with 3.5 years, 18 months and a baby born in stage 4 last week … I feel you. This is madness, ”wrote one mother.

& # 39; Send power! Here in WA we are protected from the madness that happens where you are, but I had a newborn here in jail and I can already tell the difference between my older and younger son, ”added another woman.

"My youngest is affectionate and doesn't go to anyone … why should he when he's only been with me at home for 10 weeks?"

Others said they received great moral support from the mother's post at an "impossible" time.

Victoria recorded its deadliest day with 41 deaths and 73 new cases of coronavirus on Monday (the numbers shown).

Victoria recorded its deadliest day with 41 deaths and 73 new cases of coronavirus on Monday (the numbers shown).

Michelle and Jahmin recently celebrated Jahlee's first birthday with a party for the three of them, and all 20 of their extended family came to Zoom from across the country (pictured)

Michelle and Jahmin recently celebrated Jahlee's first birthday with a party for the three of them, and all 20 of their extended family came to Zoom from across the country (pictured)

Jahlee (pictured with his father) had never had a normal upbringing and Michelle said he saw a bird for the first time the other day

Jahlee (pictured with his father) had never had a normal upbringing and Michelle said he saw a bird for the first time the other day

What are Michelle's practical tips to survive the lockdown?

* Stay nourished: Use the extra time at home to prepare healthy meals with fresh ingredients. Turning to take-away and comforting during difficult times is tempting, but having it too often can make us feel worse. Remember that good nutrition is key to supporting a healthy immune system and that fresh foods make us feel good.

* MAKE COOKING FUN FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY: Older children can help with prep and cooking in the kitchen, while younger children can help with stirring and setting the table, and babies like to mimic what they see by playing with pots and pans on the floor.

* MOVE YOUR BODY AT YOUR STEP: You may be heavily pregnant a few months after giving birth, or juggling toddlers, home school, and work from home. It's challenging, but taking the time to move your body around at your pace and fitness level, whether it's a short walk (per your local regulations) or doing gentle yoga at home, can help break up the monotony of lockdown and energize you again the rest of the day.

* GET SOME SUNSHINE: When our skin is exposed to sunlight, vitamin D is produced. This vitamin is essential for a healthy pregnancy and childhood, as well as for bone health, hormonal balance and mood regulation. So make the most of your time outdoors, as your local lockdown laws allow. If you feel tired or unwell, consider checking nutrient levels and supplementing deficiencies with the assistance of a nutritionist.

* BE NICE TO YOURSELF: When the lockdown began, many people made big plans to learn a new language, lose weight, or renovate their homes. The reality is that it can be difficult to find the energy, motivation, and time to accomplish all of these things while juggling parenting and work from home in these uncertain times. Take each day as it comes and give yourself permission to sometimes just do nothing without feeling guilty. Meditation and mindfulness are great ways to calm the mind, and children can join in too.

* CONNECT TO OTHERS ONLINE: We may be isolated at home, but so many others share a similar experience. You can use video calling to keep in touch with friends and family, but it's also a great time to meet new like-minded people by joining online groups like my free Facebook support group, Healthy and Happy Pregnancy and Parenting in One Pandemic "connect.

Michelle told FEMAIL that due to most of this year, Jahlee only met his uncle, who lives in Melbourne, and his two parents.

"He had no opportunity to meet other babies or make friends," she told Daily Mail Australia.

"I have received hundreds of messages from other parents saying that their little ones in this age group, 0-18 months old, are in the same situation."

Michelle added that it was "incredibly isolating" even for young mothers, who usually gather in parenting groups, women's groups, and playgroups.

"It's also difficult for grandparents to watch their grandchildren grow up on FaceTime and Zoom calls because they know they won't get that time back," she said.

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