Noho rāhui / lockdown came as a shock to hapū māmā, Saba Khan-Hunt.
The dental hygienist was sent home from work the Monday before noho rāhui came into effect on Thursday March 26.
Saba says it was the fear of the unknown and lack of control, that made her uneasy in the early days of the country’s move to alert level four.
“I am quite an organised person and I like to have my ducks in a row. That did trigger a lot of anxiety,” says Saba.
During noho rāhui, Saba hunkered down at home, and made the most of the extra time she could spend with her family.
Saba said her family and husband, Tyla Harrison-Hunt, did everything they could to keep her safe and comfortable.
“I haven’t had the easiest time with my pregnancy, so it was really nice to not have to worry about cooking and just be together.”
“Tyla went into quite a protective mode. He made the effort to go to the supermarket and he did everything to ensure I could stay at home. My family also gathered round to make sure I wasn’t exposed to the outside world.”
Saba only left home for her medical appointments, including a midwifery check and scan, which had to be done differently under Covid-19 restrictions.
“Obviously I really wanted Tyla at the scan but I didn’t view it as something negative. It was tough as he has been to every single one but I knew the reason why he couldn’t be there – to keep everybody here safe - so I had to think logically about it.”
It was this approach that helped Saba make sense of things and ease her worries.
During the lockdown, Saba made sure she took care of her wellbeing by going for walks, doing some painting on their family house and sharing her concerns with her loved ones.
“Tyla and my sister were a really big support for me.”
Saba says her midwife was also a really good support to her.
“I really feel for the women that had to give birth during lockdown. That would have been really hard.”
If there is one thing Saba has learnt during these last few months, it’s that things never go to plan, so go easy on yourself.
“You always think it will go a certain way but nothing goes according to plan, whether it’s the length of the pregnancy, the environment, work or family dynamic. So you just try to be prepared as much as possible and that’s all you can do. Be prepared but keep in mind things may not work out as you wanted them to.”
Now in alert level one and in her third trimester, Saba is easing back into life outside her bubble, with added caution around where and what she does.
“I think it is really normal to feel nervous and anxious about going back into public spaces. I think the best thing to do is talk through your worries with someone who can help you out.”
Saba has a message for those who come across a hapū māmā in public, too.
“Just be mindful of the person... although you’re feeling safe about the environment, they might not be. Just give them space.”
Saba and Tyla’s little pepi is due end of July. “I can’t wait to meet her,” says Saba.
If you'd like some information on how to manage manawa pā / anxious feelings during this time, check out this page on the Mental Health Foundation's website. For further advice around wellbeing for parents and whānau, head here.
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