‘I take each day as it comes’: Pregnancy and birth in the pandemic

What was it like to be pregnant, to give birth and to look after a baby in the middle of a pandemic? Photographer James Clifford Kent teamed up with Sarah Lloyd-Fox to document the experience of new parenthood in a changed world

Sunday 22 August 2021 00:01
<p>Charley and her baby daughter</p>

Charley and her baby daughter

The pandemic made bringing a baby into the world an even bigger challenge for all new and expectant parents. As a photographer and researcher of visual cultures, I realised this would also be a unique opportunity to capture how Covid restrictions and unprecedented lockdowns affected this life-changing experience for me and my partner.

I began photographing our journey shortly after we got a positive pregnancy test in November 2019. The plan was to document Charley’s pregnancy, but the project quickly grew as I explored the effect of Covid-19 on our experience.

Yet it could have been so different. We had planned to have a home birth because of Covid restrictions on birth partners. But Charley ended up being induced at the hospital and was left to labour alone through the night on the antenatal ward. Our home-birth midwife and I got there just in time to see my baby daughter being born. Charley received support on the phone from her doula (a person who supports a mother through labour and birth) and used the birthing techniques she had learned in online tutorials during her pregnancy. She said:

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