Gosport suicide campaigner Anna Wardley features in anthology of writing by mums who gave birth in lockdown
EMOTIONAL moments from mothers with a newborn baby in lockdown have been captured in a moving anthology of writing.
A project capturing the shared experiences of 277 authors who became new mothers during 2020 has been published online, including passages from Gosport suicide campaigner and endurance swimmer Anna Wardley.
Born in Lockdown, compiled by the Mothership Writers collective, is an honest and moving account of life with a new baby during a time of social isolation.
Anna, 45, heard about the project on social media and wanted to get involved with documenting her experiences and raising funds for stillbirth and neonatal death charity Sands.
Anna gave birth to her first daughter Grace on August 7 at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, with Grace arriving four weeks early following some complications which meant frequent hospital appointments.
Proud mum Anna said: ‘That period was very stressful to go through that during the pandemic, because I had to attend all those appointments on my own and everyone was wearing PPE.
‘That was really tough but we got incredible care at QA, we really were well looked after.
‘We stayed in hospital for five days after she was born and the team were phenomenal.’
The past six months have not been anything like what Anna imagined when she decided to become a mum, especially after a lot of her swim coaching work in Mallorca was cancelled due to the pandemic in the lead-up to Grace’s birth.
Anna said: ‘For the large part of it we have been locked down and isolating at home, it’s been hard not to share this with friends and family.
‘It’s also been a precious time and really special because I have been able to spend all this time with her on my own and we have been able to bond and I have been able to get to know her without lots of visitors and social engagements.
‘I wouldn’t change anything, she’s so precious. She’s very smiley, she’s a great lockdown companion.’
Endurance swimmer Anna, who has taken on challenges including a swim around the Isle of Wight and more recently the Catalina Channel, was pleased she managed to take Grace swimming a few times between lockdowns.
On the anthology, she added: ‘I was in floods of tears when I read it for the first time a couple of days ago because so many things hit home.
‘I do think it’s really important to document it and share it with people so there’s a record because so many of us have been going through it in our own way but to bring all those experiences together in one place shows how profoundly it’s affecting people.’
Since its release on February 23, the project has been downloaded thousands of times and has raised more than £4,000 through voluntary contributions for Sands.
It is free to download and features anonymous lines from each of the contributors, weaved together into a full picture of being a new mum in the pandemic.
Visit mothershipwriters.com/borninlockdown to download the anthology or make a donation to Sands.