Alone (together): becoming a parent in the pandemic

Sussman, Helen (2023) Alone (together): becoming a parent in the pandemic. Journal of Child Psychotherapy, 49 (1). pp. 24-38. ISSN 1469-9370 (electronic) 0075-417X (paper)

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This paper draws on the author’s own experience of becoming a parent during the Covid-19 pandemic as a starting point from which to explore, and consider, how the experience of new parenthood was profoundly affected by the unusual and challenging circumstances created by the pandemic. Using a psychoanalytic lens, the author considers the legacy effects of Covid-19 restrictions and the atmosphere of heightened anxiety and danger, on the families who welcomed their first child in 2020 or 2021. The paper brings into focus the simultaneous experience of increased isolation and the withdrawal of support that would ordinarily be offered to new parents, along with the increased opportunities for closeness and early bonding this might bring, and considers how these factors might interrelate. It considers the changes to fatherhood that the pandemic created, and examines the benefits as well as pitfalls of the unusual circumstances brought about by successive lockdowns in the UK. The paper also explores the role that child psychotherapy has, as a profession, to examine and understand this experience for new parents and children born in the pandemic.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Received 28 June 2022, Accepted 17 December 2022, Published online: 22 Jan 2023
Uncontrolled Keywords: Parenting; Covid-19 pandemic; matrescence; parent-infant relationship
Subjects: Families > Childbirth
Families > Mother Child Relations
Families > Parent Child Relations/Parenthood
Human Psychological Processes > Strange Environment/Situation
Department/People: Department of Education and Training

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