Born into a Pandemic is an online archive of stories by those who have experienced pregnancy, childbirth, being a new parent, or suffered the loss of a baby during the Covid 19 pandemic. We are inviting anyone who has been through these experiences at this unique time in history to share the highs and lows of their journeys using both words and images. Our aim is to bring together and give a voice to an entire community, each of whom have forged their own way in relative isolation as a result of pandemic-related restrictions, and to document their stories for posterity.
If you have a story to share, please submit this anonymously via our online form. Please do share details of the website far and wide so that others also have the opportunity to do the same. If you require support then please visit the links page, which provides details of organisations who can offer information and assistance.
How Born into a Pandemic was born…
In the spring of 2020, photographer and content producer Nina Raingold read some alarming stories in the press about women having to attend antenatal appointments and give birth alone; she also became aware of the severe lack of essential post-natal support available to women as a result of Covid-19 restrictions. Even as a mother and a photographer whose work had largely focused on young families in recent years, she could still barely imagine how challenging these circumstances must have been for pregnant women and new mothers, as well as their families. For many, it was clearly hugely difficult to be so isolated at a time when the support of family and friends was so crucial, or to be classed as high-risk and vulnerable and yet to be required to make multiple visits to overwhelmed hospitals.
Seeing a pressing need to shine a light on these struggles, Nina decided to photograph and interview a number of new mothers in their home environments, seeking to document their stories in their own words as well as to capture visually their new daily reality, which had been shared with so few others. Images of intimate and tender moments between mothers and their babies appeared juxtaposed with stories often containing much anxiety, isolation and disappointment, borne of the social restrictions and limited support. After a selection of these stories and photographs were published on BBC news on Mother’s Day 2021, Nina was contacted by hundreds of mothers and their partners with whom these accounts had strongly resonated, and who felt it vital to share their own stories. Many had found comfort in reading the accounts of others in similar circumstances. The scale of this response was unanticipated, but it brought into sharp focus both the seriousness of the issues, and the pressing need for each of these individuals and families to share their experiences. The idea for the Born into a Pandemic archive grew organically from there. Our hope is that we can provide a platform for new parents and their communities to share these stories with others, and perhaps in this way to help increase our collective awareness and equip us a little better for navigating through these difficult times.