'My parents never saw me pregnant': Cork woman in Australia tells of difficulties being far from home during pandemic

'My parents never saw me pregnant': Cork woman in Australia tells of difficulties being far from home during pandemic

Claire Mary Twomey, her son Elwood and her husband Kieran. Claire Mary says that she and her husband Kieran will be packing their suitcases and booking tickets the day international travel reopens.

CONTINUED uncertainty around Australian border reopenings has been met with frustration by some Cork immigrants desperate to see their families again.

Over the last few weeks, Cork people have been opening up to The Echo about the devastation resulting from pandemic restrictions in Australia.

Claire Mary Twomey from Ballincollig is among those sharing their stories following months of uncertainty. She revealed how helpless her parents felt after her baby was in Intensive Care following a premature birth 10 months ago.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has set out plans to re-open state borders after 80% of the population are vaccinated. It comes as New South Wales and Victoria struggle with the country's most severe heartbreaks.

Meanwhile, Australia-based Corkonians said they have little hope that international travel will resume before Christmas.

Claire Mary revealed that she and her husband Kieran will be packing their suitcases and booking tickets the day international travel reopens. The last year and a half has been surreal for Claire Mary who said her 10-month-old son Elwood is yet to meet his grandparents.

"The last time I saw my parents was two years ago," she said. “When I first found out I was pregnant I was convinced they would be here after the birth as it was a whole nine months away. We know people over here but they are not your family. It's not the same as being with the people you grew up who know you inside out."

Describing her experiences she said: "It's strange when I think about how they never saw me pregnant. However, the hardest part for them was not being able to do anything if something went wrong and they were so far away.

“It was difficult for them when Elwood was born four weeks prematurely as they were getting pictures of him hooked up to all these breathing machines. I can imagine how worried they must have been at home.

“We had to reassure them that he would be fine and things looked much worse than they were. If anything happens you don't want to phone them and tell them because the worry is harder to deal with when you are so far away."

The months that followed were a challenge for both Claire Mary and her husband Kieran.

"Being in the hospital and having all the doctors and nurses around us to help for the time we were there was so much more appreciated when we didn't have the help from grandparents at home. We came home on our own because Elwood was still in hospital.

“It's strange because there's nobody there to ‘cheers’ or have a drink with. Now, Elwood is almost walking. My parents joke that when they finally get here he will be collecting them from the airport. He's in daycare now and when you see people dropping off their grandchildren and asking them how their day was it's really hard."

Elwood's parents devote hours of their time each week attempting to bond with him through a computer screen.

"When we are talking to them on Skype they will follow Elwood around for two hours. The last day he learned to clap and my mum was clapping with him. She started singing and he thought ‘what is this?’ “He doesn't understand or know who his grandparents are yet. However, he knows that they are people trying to make him laugh and happy. I want him to see them as much as possible so when the day comes that they finally get to meet he won't be afraid of them."

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