THE first weeks at home with a new baby are, for most new parents, a whirlwind of visits and presents, cuddles and family snapshots.
But for Ryan Thomas, 35, and Lucy Mecklenburgh, 28, who welcomed son Roman on 12 March – just before the UK went into coronavirus lockdown – that 'newborn bubble' has been far from ordinary.
"We have our good days and our bad days but we are coping," Ryan says, but hints the couple – who are also planning their future wedding – are deeply missing quality family time like millions of us.
"I think the hardest thing is not being able to see our families – my little son not seeing my brothers and my nieces and nephews, that’s quite an important thing to do when you have a little newborn baby, but that’s been taken away from us.
"Being a 'celebrity' means nothing when you are going through this, it’s no difference to me and the person next to me – it is daunting and it is intense. The lack of sleep is terrible and you can’t think straight," he admits.
While things are odd for thousands of new parents, Ryan's fiancee Lucy – who's known for her openness and honesty on Instagram with her 1.6million followers – hasn't been shy of discussing the trials and tribulations of being a new mum on lockdown.
In the hope to support others in similar situations, like Ryan, she's spoken about everything from leaky boobs to keeping healthy but, sadly, been victim to trolling too.
Last week she opened up about going to get Roman’s vaccinations, revealing she’s received a mixed response from fellow mums – some attacking her for doing it.
She hit back on her Instagram stories sharing clips of Good Morning Britain’s Dr Hilary discussing the benefits of vaccinations amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s about perception of risk. People have forgotten how damaging Polio was, Rabies, Diphtheria, whooping cough. They used to kill thousands and thousands of children. We’ve become complacent because we don’t see that as a risk anymore,” he explained on the ITV morning show.
“Meningitis still does, however, get publicity, but people are more likely to vaccinate their children than the other things they’ve forgotten about. Vaccinations have saved millions and millions of lives.”
Lucy said she thought it was 'important' to share Dr Hilary’s words because she had faced criticism over her decision to vaccinate and Ryan says he supports her decision.
"A lot of people have opinions about parenting but I don’t feel as though they can judge others on what they do with their own child, " he says.
"Everyone has their own way of bringing up a child and that’s fine, I’m not going to preach to other parents about how they should bring up their kids, because I don’t think it’s right for me to do that.
"Lucy is doing it her way and she’s trusting her motherly instincts that she’s doing the right thing and I can only vouch for that and I’m backing her 100%, because it’s right."
"Lucy is amazing though, " he adds.
"We have tag teamed everything so the house stays in order. Food, dishwasher, walks. We have a little routine and Lucy has been like clockwork, she should have a cape on!"
As for the former Towie star, one of the biggest challenges has also been having to isolate away from best friend Lydia Bright.
With their due dates so close to one another, Lydia, 30, and Lucy enjoyed every aspect of their pregnancies together but have been forced apart due to the coronavirus crisis.
But Ryan says – while he's on hand 24/7 to help Lucy – Lydia has been there too from those exhausting night-feeds to muddling through those endless questions every new parent has.
"She’s on the phone to Lydia all the time – her friends, her mum, her dad, they only live round the corner – it’s really weird, but we are sticking by the rules and trying to save lives, like everyone else, it’s important right now. Staying connected is the most important thing."
Lucy is doing it her way and she’s trusting her motherly instincts and I’m backing her 100%, because it’s right."
Ryan and Lucy also have another helper lending a hand with Roman when she can – Ryan's 11-year-old daughter Scarlett.
"Scarlett absolutely adores her little brother, they have a real connection. He looks at Scarlett like she is the best thing that has ever happened."
Ryan is also juggling homeschooling Scarlett when he can but the pair have been treating Lucy to breakfast in bed and bonding over baking, like thousands of parents out there.
"I'm really proud of her, she's doing really well."
*Ryan will be a panellist on today’s WaterWipes Early Days Club LIVE event, via Zoom at 2pm.
Ryan will also be joined by host comedienne, Ellie Taylor and panellists: Myleene Klass, Dr Laura Lenihan and midwife, Marie Louise. For details on how to join today’s Zoom call at 2pm, please click here.
In other parenting new, check out Stacey Solomon’s guide to surviving lockdown with three kids – from cosy date nights with Joe to making a slip-n-slide.
Also, we revealed how Katie Piper has been left feeling "thick" due to homeschooling.
And here's how to buy celebs' favourite loungewear in lockdown.
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