Infants not counted as an individual when meeting one person under new lockdown rules

Infants not counted as an individual when meeting one person under new lockdown rules

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Ayanna Laud started this petition to UK Parliament

During the postpartum period, new mothers are at risk of specific mental health problems, all the more so in these times when pregnancy and birth has been more stressful than usual, and women have often had to attend for antenatal appointments and labour care alone. The postpartum period is also the time when women are at highest risk from domestic abuse. It is important that new mothers have safe contact with other people to mitigate these risks to themselves and their babies. Furthermore, these risks have already been increased due to the significant reduction in contact from healthcare professionals pre and postnatally. 

The proposed rule that individuals may only meet with one person from outside their household, isolates a new mother or father completely. Even when the parents are together, one parent is likely to be working which usually leaves one parent as sole carer. The fact that their newborn baby counts as a person in these calculations means that effectively a new parent can meet with no one at all, as it is not feasible to leave a newborn, particularly if breastfeeding. A number of new mothers (for example single and solo parents) may have no one to leave a newborn with even if it were feasible.

It is nonsensical to designate a newborn baby as a person who counts towards the number that can meet. It is obvious that an immobile baby introduces no additional public health risk to anyone. Conversely, though, I am concerned that the continued inclusion of babies in this restriction places women with new babies (and their babies/children) at an additional risk in terms of mental health and safety from abuse because of the isolation it forces on these women. I ask that you please raise this with Parliament when debating the proposed lockdown rules, and ask that babies be discounted from these restrictions so that women at this particularly vulnerable time of their lives are not unnecessarily made even more vulnerable by these proposals.

During this extremely challenging time for everyone, the bonding between a mother or father and their newborn baby is even more important during the life changing experience of being a parent. The wellbeing and mental health of the parent place a key role in bonding and attachment.

We are both mums to toddlers and newborns and are concerned about the impact on our mental health by being unable to have contact with anyone. 

Written by Liz Lynch and Ayanna Laud

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