“I definitely want things back to normal now” - Halifax mum on son Romeo’s first year of life in lockdown
A mum from Greetland can’t wait for life to return to some form of normality one year on from giving birth to her little boy Romeo.
Melissa Fairbank went into labour on March 23 last year, the same day the country was plunged into lockdown for the first time.
Romeo was born at Calderdale Royal Hospital at 2.24am, weighing 6lb 15oz, and came home later that day, shortly before the first lockdown was announced.
“I’m a beauty therapist by trade and I worked right up until I was due,” said Melissa, 34, who lives in Greetland with husband of six years James, 36, and son Ralph, five.
“People kept cancelling saying ‘I’d better not have my appointment because somebody at work’s got a cold and I don’t know if it’s coronavirus’ and I kept thinking ‘get a grip, it’s nothing, I don’t know what everyone’s bothered about’, I was a bit blase about it.
“And then it was Mother’s Day and they said ‘don’t celebrate it with your mums, don’t mix households’ and I was a bit upset because I’ve never not sent Mother’s Day with my mum.
“Then I went into labour that night, I went to the birth centre and they let my husband stay.
“It was a really quick labour, I went to hospital about 12.30am, had him by 2.30am and six hours later they were like ‘right, you need to leave, we’re in a pandemic’.
“I was home by eight o’clock - my little boy had only just had his breakfast.
“Then it hit me then when I said ‘oh, my mum’s go my little boy so she’ll be able to have a hold of him won’t she’ but they said ‘no, your mum needs to leave, nobody can touch that baby for 12 weeks’.
“Then I got emotional because I was like ‘oh my god, this is actually something’.
“We went into lockdown at four o’clock that night.
“Because we didn’t go into lockdown until that evening I was lucky that my husband could be with us, whereas anybody that gave birth the day after had to go through it on their own.
“We’ve had no support in terms of family and we weren’t able to have health visitors come.
“We had one visit the day after he was born and then that’s it.”
Melissa, a mobile beauty therapist, says the hardest thing about the past year is that Romeo has been unable to mix with other children.
“Not being able to go to a play gym, any baby classes,” she said. “We joined some baby classes, we did one term and then we signed up for another term and then we had the lockdown in November.
“We signed up again in December to start in January which got cancelled and now he’s not allowed to go because he’s over the age of one.
“That’s the hardest thing. He’s doesn’t like loud noises so if anyone’s screaming he gets a bit upset.
“But he’s got an amazing bond with his brother and with me and my husband.
“My little boy’s never been jealous of him, like some kids can be when a new one comes along, but because he wasn’t at school he’s been with him every day.
“He can calm him down if he’s crying, he loves him, it’s so nice to see and we wouldn’t have had that had the pandemic not have happened.”
The family are in a support bubble with Melissa’s mum Vicky Gill, so she can help out with childcare.
“He’s always giggly, always happy, but he definitely, definitely knows what he wants,” Melissa said.
“He’s adamant when he wants things, and he’s more into things than my other boy was at his age, he’s moving around, he’s talking.
“He’s definitely a character.
“It has been hard, but I’ve really enjoyed having that whole time off with him because I haven’t been able to work - I’m still not able to trade now.
“It’s been amazing I’ve had that whole time with him, but then it’s also sad when you look back on the 12 month and you haven’t been to a zoo, or on holiday, you haven’t got those memories that your first one had, doing all those amazing things.
“We keep saying hopefully we can go on holiday this year, we can hopefully go and do things as a family that we haven’t been able to.
“Have days out that you probably took for granted before.
“It has been nice walking round the local area and thinking outside the box, and spending more time at home.
“But I definitely want things back to normal now.
“My family have a villa in Portugal so we normally go there every year. We’re hoping we can go back but we’ll have to see what happens.”