We first met Ella-Mae when she was pregnant with her twins, Ruby and Bella, who were born 14 weeks early and have chronic lung disease. The girls are now almost three.
“Lockdown was extremely stressful, with the girls having a lung condition and us not knowing how covid could affect them, it was very scary. We were shielding and spent so much time inside we got cabin fever. With the added anxiety about their health, it was an almost unbearable situation. We had to go into hospital a couple of times for breathing problems, so there was a lot of scary moments for us during the pandemic.
“Financially, it was a huge strain. The panic-buying meant our local shops sold out of the things we needed so we were forced to shop online. We found that the items that we could normally afford sold out or weren’t in stock, and when they were, they were over-priced so that had a huge financial impact. Nappies were selling out left, right and centre … it was hard.
“In lockdown, the girls went up a shoe size and I was stressing about how we were going to get them shoes, because they’re really expensive. We got a referral to Little Village, and they were able to send us shoes, toiletries, nappies and other essentials, which was a real lifeline for us.
“Many of the benefits we received during lockdown have ended, so that’s had a massive impact on our income. The pandemic for me doesn’t feel over. Life hasn’t changed really, I don’t suddenly have a disposable income. Everybody is rushing to the shops … buying things for their children, for themselves, organising days out … zoo trips, theme parks, but for a lot of people like myself, those are decisions we can’t make because we don’t have the option. It makes you feel bad about yourself, you want to give your children everything and provide for them and you can’t.”
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