Lockdown has been a seismic shock for every family and community. Sadly, the voices of the hardest hit have been heard the least. This report sets about to change this by exploring pandemic and lockdown reflections from a diverse group of expectant and new parents during the critical first months and years of their babies’ development.
Charities Best Beginnings, Home-Start UK and Parent-Infant Foundation were alarmed that the voices of parents with new babies have been absent from key pandemic responses. As a result, they worked with Critical Research to survey 5,000 new and expectant parents on their lockdown experiences and found a mixed picture, shining a light on huge disparities between different families and communities.
Over 200,000 babies were born when lockdown was at its most restrictive, between 23 March and 4 July. The survey of 5,474 respondents suggests that the impact of COVID-19 on these babies could be severe and may be longlasting.
The report found:
- 6 in 10 (61%) parents shared significant concerns about their mental health.
- A quarter (24%) of pregnant respondents who cited mental health as a main concern said they would like help with this, rising to almost a third (32%) of those with a baby.
- Only around 3 in 10 (32%) were confident that they could find help for their mental health if they needed it.
- Almost 9 in 10 (87%) parents were more anxious as a result of COVID-19 and the lockdown. There was a notable variation among respondents who reported feeling ‘a lot’ more anxious: White 42%, Black/ Black British 46%, Asian/Asian British 50%, parents 25 years old or under 54%, and parents with a household income of less than £16k 55%.