By Mothership Writers. Illustrated by Esther Curtis. Free to download.
Born in Lockdown is a unique collection of accounts unlike any I’ve ever seen before. The brainchild of novelist Emylia Hall, Born in Lockdown has 277 authors, all women who had babies in the UK in 2020. Each woman contributes a snippet of their experience and they have been collated in story form from conception to delivery.
Despite the varying styles and delivery of each short story, the book flows beautifully, and you get a real sense of the mood of a nation. Although every account is different, they all lean towards the same key theme, which is that it’s been a difficult time to become a mother. Many of the descriptions, if taken out of context, seem almost apocalyptic. There are stories of babies not meeting relatives for a year, and other mothers having to say final goodbyes to their own mothers through Zoom. Born in Lockdown is a testament to the tenacity and strength of a mother.
That’s not to say that the book is full of woe, as there some breathtakingly beautiful moments captured perfectly: such as the description of one woman meeting her newborn for the first time –
“He smiles and almost lets out a laugh. My heart leaps and I almost cry in a flash of absolute love.”born in lockdown
– or this poetic summary of how babies wait for nobody –
“The world stood still but you didn’t. You grew and you bloomed and there was only us to see it.”born in lockdown
Born in Lockdown feels more like a time capsule than it does a book, but either way, it is a beautiful project. I believe that many of the women that gave birth during 2020 will feel a certain solidarity and affection for the 277 mothers that shared snapshots of their story. I would also recommend it to any health professional who is working with new mums, as it gives a unique insight into the unseen struggles that we are supporting the mums of 2020 through.
You can download Born in Lockdown here. Mothership Writers are encouraging readers to make a donation to the Sands charity if they download the book.