Voices from the UK's pulmonary hypertension community
Catia Teixeira, 34, lives in Barry in South Wales and has pulmonary hypertension linked with congenital heart disease. She adopted a baby six months into the pandemic.
“To begin with, when the whole shielding thing started, it was very isolating. I’ve had PH all my life and I’ve always been very independent, so I didn’t feel like I needed to be shielding.
My husband was allowed out, but he was trying to be careful because of me. At the time, it all felt unnecessary and too overprotective.
I’m not a big fan of labels so I didn’t like being called clinically extremely vulnerable.
It made my parents more worried about me and when the rules were starting to become more relaxed, they were still very cautious about me going out, even though I wanted to.
It felt like I was constantly getting letters telling me I was vulnerable, and I was like ‘yes I’m aware of this, thank you very much’.
In September 2020, our adopted eight-month-old baby came home, on the same day that regional lockdowns began.
My mum and family live in a different region of Wales and it was difficult not having them around, but we were able to meet nearby friends for walks with their little ones which was good for me and my mental health.
Apart from that, all of the baby classes had stopped so there wasn’t really an opportunity to meet other new parents. When you’re at home all day with a baby, it is quite difficult sometimes without that social aspect.
On the positive side, it really helped my husband and I to form an attachment and a bond with Katerina because there was literally no-one else that she could meet.
It brought the three of us closer together as a family which was really nice, and there are positive memories too. It wasn’t all doom and gloom by any means.
We were approved to adopt in March 2020, so it all happened quite quickly. The social worker had mentioned delays because of the courts slowing down, but we were really lucky, and we were told it was quite exceptional.
I was very happy to start going out more with Katerina when restrictions started lifting. I was social distancing and wearing a mask but being out and about and with people is how I thrive.
Although I was a bit nervous, I was keen to get back to doing what I could. Ultimately, life continues, and we just get on with it the best that we can.”
~Catia told her story to the PHA UK in the summer of 2022~
Life is short, and that is exactly what the last couple of years have shown us
The lack of control is probably what I struggled with most
I wasn’t willing to go back to work and put her in danger
Every corner I turned during the pandemic was scary, but my specialist centre gave me hope