Corona, Baby & Me

The Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement Office’s Meredith Brooklyn shares her self isolation story…

If there is any way to make an already nerve wracking experience like pregnancy any more isolating, it would have to be throwing a global pandemic into the mix. What at the best of times feels like a small alien taking over your life from the inside out, Coronavirus has to take the biscuit (and only of the rationed variety as I’m quickly running out of Bourbons).

Nausea, exhaustion, fatness in all the places you’ve never had it before, a new, slightly frumpier wardrobe, a lack of baths and growing desire to sit for great lengths in a sauna now that you most certainly cannot. Add to this already complicated equation: a shortage of fruits and vegetables, the fear that at any moment you might run out of loo roll for good and have no choice but to resort to using socks, and to top it all off: a global mass hysteria throbbing all around. I think that’s just about enough to make anyone feel tetchy, let alone a first-time mum-to-be.

I’m due in August, so as bump is non-the-wiser, the world may be unrecognisable by then. I have to continually throw my thoughts to the women of previous generations who have had to face much worse predicaments while growing a human being. I feel an isolated sense of ‘sisterhood’ in thinking of the scarier wartimes women would have found themselves in. It’s a quiet sort of comfort.

And, while I sit here pontificating about our current situation and the little one that’s wriggling unawares in my tum, I am increasingly grateful for the lovely team I work with – how our adjustment to working from home and keeping Bridge over troubled waters albuman eye on each other has offered me such reassurance over the last couple of weeks. Am I daunted about the prospect of another 11 weeks or more of this? Oh yes. But with their upbeat memes and messages I’m confident that we’ll get through this together. Their support (albeit in 2D these days) is a huge comfort.

They say that from week 18 your baby can hear sounds and starts to recognise its mother’s voice. As if anyone has ever had to tell me to sing show tunes more than once! In my newly isolated state last week, I dusted off my small keyboard, and dug out a stack of old sheet music to see me through the weirdness of this pandemic.

It gave me an entertaining idea to involve a dear colleague of mine in what could be a wonderful (or disastrous) attempt at a virtual band. David, a colleague in the Philanthropy team is known to tickle the ivories, so I sent him a strange invitation to join me in recording Bridge Over Troubled Water. And if that wasn’t a good enough offer, I lured him in by suggesting we could even have an album cover featuring us wearing sequins, which was bound to win him over. I was sure that whatever we produced, albeit a tad patchy in places, was a step in the right direction to entertain our fellow team members from the comfort of their home-working desks. And thus was born our version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic. Included here for your very own entertainment alongside our cheesy album cover. You can listen to the track here:

 

Singing has an amazing way of lifting the spirits. My advice to you during this lonely weird time: sing to your heart’s content. In the shower, in the garden, whilst making a bowl of rationed pasta. If neighbours can hear you – well, all the better, I say!

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