Thursday 11 June 2020

Hello from lockdown maternity leave...

Online Baby Rhyme Time
Hello! So, I didn't really have a firm, pre-conceived idea about what maternity leave would be like - but it certainly wasn't this... The first half or so of Matilda's first year was spent going to baby rhyme time classes and (sometimes) visiting friends but for the most part, we were both at home receiving visitors - these included some BLE dignatories including Mandy Bentham (brainchild of the BLE), Caroline Bell (now Brown; former BLE Project Officer) as well as Bloomsbury digital learning specialist, Caroline Norris, UCL, and academics, Dr Anita Skinner (LSHTM) and Prof Jill Madison (RVC). Matilda also enjoyed meeting Julie Voce and Mimi Weiss Johnson from City.

photo of us video calling
Video calling with her friends
On Monday 16th March 2020, we drove over to see my parents and then had lunch with some friends - and that was the last time we went out until last week, when we sat in my parents' garden, 2m away from them. In that time, Matilda has become very au fait with video conferencing technology. She has participated in FaceTime and WhatsApp video calls, HouseParties, Skype and Zoom conference calls. At less than 8 months old, she gets as excited as we're waiting to connect with a grandparent on FaceTime as she would have seeing them in person. Luckily, she doesn't know what 'normal' means - she is truly a digitally communicating (dare I say it) native. She even joined the last BLE CMALT Cohort presentation session - she is already collecting evidence for her portfolio! 

photo of Skype call
BLE Brainstorm call with Nick Short,
Julian and Nancy
And as for me? Weekly life in lockdown maternity leave is pretty much Groundhog Day - nowhere to go, and no-one to see (apart from my partner who, like many, is working very long hours from home). I'm lucky that the baby (usually) has a long nap in the mornings so, amid the boundless amounts of laundry and washing up, I am keeping in regular (more-or-less daily) contact with the BLE Executive, Julian and Nancy; taking part in BLE-run online meetings and webinars; speaking to other BLE colleagues across the consortium and checking on the incredibly active Twitterfeed and discussions for the BLE's Get In MOOC. All this has really helped me to stay energised and enthusiastic.

Family celebration via Zoom
I'm still using @BLE1 on Twitter - and am still on the same mobile number - so call, text, Tweet, WhatsApp, etc if you'd like to take a break and say hello. I know it's been hard - colleagues are working crazy busy hours in isolated conditions. I hope things can safely start to improve soon. In the meantime, massive thanks to everything Julian and Nancy are doing to keep supporting BLE colleagues (the Digital Skills Awareness course for teaching staff is developing beautifully). Julian in particular is available to anyone in the BLE who needs an ear to listen to or some help with some creative thinking around digital education and planning. 

Take care, be safe, be well, be kind.
Sarah x


  1. Lovely to have an update from lockdown maternity leave Sarah!

    1. let me echo that Leo - we've missed you :)

  2. Great update, Sarah. I can certainly resonate with the Groundhog Day feeling whilst on maternity leave, but great to hear you have an outlet with your BLE colleagues

  3. Ooh, name check! It seems like such a long time ago I visited. Lovely to hear from you.

  4. Good to see the family is all well and reading your updates about your journey of motherhood. ;-)

  5. Hello lovely Stone peeps!! So good to see you all and thanks for sharing your Maternity lockdown Journey, Sarah. Much love x

  6. Great to hear from you Sarah and what gorgeous pictures!

  7. Love the photos. And the news. and the upbeat energy here. Looking forward to having you back in the CDE

  8. Sarah, what a lovely cheering positive message. And, yes, Matilda may well be one of the world's very first true digital natives. Until her portfolio is complete, there should be a badge for that! Stay well, and enjoy.