Watch: Lockdown baby boom at Ipswich gym - is this squad of the future?
- Credit: Becky Hambling
Staff members at one Ipswich gym have had their very own lockdown baby boom.
These four instructors at Pipers Vale Gymnastics Centre have all welcomed new arrivals since the first lockdown in March 2020, including twins.
We have been celebrating the arrivals of so many beautiful babies during lockdown - including these new arrivals.
Head of recreational gymnastics at the centre Hannah Marsh and her husband Andrew welcomed baby Mabel in March. Becky Hambling and husband Taurean had Myla in July, instructor Will Banthorpe and his wife Stacey had Blake in September, and Jo and Scott Wilder welcomed their baby twin girls, Macy and Darcy, in December.
Hannah said: "I have worked at Pipers Vale for 15 years. Due to lockdown and maternity leave, I returned to work briefly at the gym before further lockdowns.
"I am now virtually coaching running Zoom sessions with my team of staff, for current members within my department training two or more hours a week, so they are able to keep up general fitness and flexibility, which will aid their return once we are able to open our doors again."
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She added: "Mabel attended a casual parent-and-toddler session when we were able to run them, which she loved, being able to crawl around and explore such a big safe space. We will definitely go again, especially now she has started to walk!
"Unfortunately the lockdown babies have not met due to restrictions, as we have been unable to do the usual introduction of a new baby. However, I have been fortunate to meet the youngest arrivals, Jo’s twins Darcy and Macy, through a window visit and cannot wait for the day we are able to have play dates."
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Meanwhile, Becky's household has not one but two gym instructors, as her husband Taurean is a gym coach in Colchester.
So it's no surprise that Myla already has her own mini-leotard, and the little bundle of energy enjoys playing with big brother Ellis, aged four.
Aside from their passion for gym, the new parents have told of the difficulties of having babies during coronavirus restrictions.
For Will and Stacey, Blake is their third child, joining Tayah, eight, and Isaac, six, but the whole neo-natal experience was very different this time around.
Stacey said: "The birth was a very surreal experience, with the wards being scarily quiet. It was a very lonely experience, having to go through seven hours of labour on my own, with Will only being allowed in for the final stages.
"The midwives were lovely though, and very supportive of the strange situation.”
Will added: “Following the birth, having so much extra family time and time out from travelling with work, due to the pandemic, has been a real blessing.
"However, it’s been really difficult for Blake still not being able to meet much of his extended family, and he hasn’t been able to go to any baby groups or classes.”
Jo said: "I had my twin girls Macy and Darcy on December 1, at 32 weeks gestation. The girls spent six weeks on the neonatal unit at Ipswich hospital.
"It was a difficult time, but they made it through and came home In January. Even though we aren’t able to see each other, I have stayed in contact with people from work.
"As I was the last to have my babies, I have been lucky to receive some hand-me-downs from everyone else and when you have twins every little helps.
"They are hard work, but it’s very rewarding and my other two children, Luke, 17, and Esmae, 10, have been a huge help. We’ve had plenty of visitors since being home, but they have all been window visits. It feels really strange, but it’s the closest we can get right now."