TOWIE star Lauren Pope on expecting a baby amid a global health crisis: 'My family haven’t seen me with a bump'

Caroline Allen
Contributor

The coronavirus pandemic has seriously altered the way we go about our day-to-day lives and pregnant women have really felt the limitations COVID-19 has brought with it.

Mum groups, ante-natal classes and midwife appointments are now widely conducted over the phone or video chat, given that pregnant women are on the government’s “moderate risk” list.

It’s a huge change and one that nobody could plan for, but a sense of virtual community amongst pregnant women has risen in lieu of coffee dates and mum-to-be classes.

Lauren Pope’s new Yahoo UK video series The Baby Bump with Lauren Pope, as well as her Facebook and Instagram groups for mums and pregnant women, The Mum Space, is doing exactly that: creating a community for pregnant women during this strange time.

Former The Only Way Is Essex star Lauren Pope, 37, is expecting her first child. (Supplied)

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The former The Only Way is Essex star, who is currently 32 weeks pregnant, admitted to Yahoo UK that the lockdown took a “bit of adjusting to” as a pregnant woman.

“There was no solid information, so we all just felt a little bit anxious. Lockdown happened a week or so after I announced I was pregnant,” she says.

“My direct messages went crazy from other women, even just asking if I was staying in each day. Then it just sunk in all the things I was going to be missing out on.

“Women haven’t been able to have baby showers, their families haven’t seen them with a bump. My family haven’t seen me with a bump.”

Pope acknowledges that her family not being able to see her with a bump isn’t a big deal in the “grand scheme of things”, but it’s the little everyday reminders that life isn’t quite normal which can be hard in times when hormones are already heightened.

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After receiving messages from women all over the UK, Pope - along with her friend Bambi Haines - set up Facebook and Instagram groups so that women who felt alone during the pandemic could ask each other questions.

As well as being community driven, the video series brings new pregnancy professionals on each week.

This gives mums and mums-to-be the chance to ask a whole host of questions that they haven’t been able to ask in group environments due to the lockdown.

“The group has helped me so much,” Pope explains. “We’ve also missed out on meeting other mums physically, in groups.

“I had a question about the whopping cough vaccination so I decided to put it on the group. Within about five minutes I’d had about 60 replies from people telling me why they did or didn’t decide to get the vaccination.”

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For first-time mums, like Pope, this time may be even more poignant and not just for the mums.

“It’s really sad that we’ve had to miss out on some of those moments,” the former TOWIE star admits, speaking about her partner being unable to attend her scan.

“Growing up you have all these ideas in your head about how it’s going to be when you have a baby and all the things you get to do.”

Despite the things that pregnant women have had to miss out on, like many of us, Pope has found some solitude in the slower way of life.

“I’m actually quite enjoying lockdown now. Once I got myself into a routine, I’ve got so used to it and I quite like it.

“It’s not ideal that I’ve had to pick a pram without even trying it out, but you’ve just got to crack on with it and deal with it. None of us can do anything about it.

“Just try to make the best of the situation. In normal life we probably wouldn’t have the chance to just chill out and look after ourselves this much. We’d be running around, jumping on tubes, going to work. It’s almost like we’ve been given a bit of a break before the baby comes.”

Lauren Pope, who starred in TOWIE until 2019, at the National Television Awards 2019. (Getty Images)

It’s this refreshing approach with has seen Pope’s The Mum Space social media accounts rise rapidly during lockdown.

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The Yahoo UK video series aims to give answers to the vast amount of questions new mums and pregnant women have by tackling common themes from giving birth in lockdown to self-care throughout pregnancy.

Many of the themes come from hot topics of discussion which Pope admits ranges from everything what people are packing in their hospital bags to whether or not they’re getting certain vaccines.

The chats pick out experts based on the questions that people have been asking to give mums and mums-to-be a chance to get answers to any burning questions.