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"I'm holding out hope for a normal Christmas." 25 Victorians share how they're feeling right now.

For Melbourne residents, September 13 was meant to mark the end of stage four COVID-19 restrictions.

But on Sunday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews delivered the news many didn't want to hear but sadly expected. 

The restrictions, which were imposed for six weeks in August, would now continue until September 28. Other changes were also made including an extension of the current curfew. 

The premier further outlined a roadmap out of stage four restrictions for Melbourne and stage three restrictions for regional Victoria. 

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For some residents, the news brings continued isolation, loneliness, homeschooling, separation from family, exhaustion, while for others, it brings hope. Hope that there is finally a way out of lockdown.  

In an effort to check in with the women of Victoria, we asked those in the Mamamia community to share how they are feeling right now. 

Here's what they told us.

Kate. 

Personally, I'm just exhausted. My exhaustion was compounded on Sunday with the confirmation of the lockdown extension. Realistically the lockdown will continue until the end of October and even then, it's not guaranteed. My kids are tired, sick of homeschooling, missing their friends and frustrated with seeing the same four walls for 23 hours a day (soon to be 22 hours). I'll deal with further restrictions and get through it but knowing that my kids won't be going back to school at the beginning of term four is heartbreaking.

Elecia. 

I'm not surprised about the extended lockdown. We are known as the 'nanny state'. After the initial disappointment and anger, I am now feeling hopeful. It has been uplifting to watch the numbers halve week on week of the lockdown. From 700 down to 41 today. It shows that the majority of Melburnians are doing the right thing, which makes me feel hopeful that the lockdown will end sooner despite the roadmap. We can only focus on what we can control, take each day as it comes, support local businesses any way we can (that's what I say to myself when I buy that brownie to go with my coffee) and be kind to eachother.

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Caitlin.

I was one of the first to go back into lockdown. I have lost count how many weeks it's been now. I haven't been back into the office since March. But that all being said, I support these measures. We have seen how one or two cases spiralled into 700 in a single day. We have worked this hard and come this far, it would not be right to throw away all our hard work. I want to get to a point where it's not only convenient to open up, but it's safe. I want to throw myself back into Melbourne's hospitality scene with gusto come December. I'm holding out hope for a normal Christmas.

Simone. 

I'm disheartened, but also not overly surprised that our lockdown has been extended. As someone who is staying with family, doesn't have children, and whose livelihood doesn't depend on an industry which is closed, I feel that I'm in very fortunate position compared to many others around me.

From my perspective, I see it as our city/state staying shut to keep our most vulnerable safe, in the hope that come Christmas, we'll be on the other side and can begin to return to some kind of normal. I have hope that case numbers will continue to drop, and we won't have a third lockdown looming. I don't feel angry about the decision that has been made, more so disappointed that for the majority of people doing the right thing, it still hasn't been enough.

Michelle. 

I'm doing great and fully support the plan and the measures taken thus far. However, I realise my being okay is in large part due to being privileged. I have my job, my health, and I really enjoy the company of my kids. Without those, I would find this all a whole lot harder. Of course, I have my moments (I'm far from my family and partner), but basically we're doing great. I love working from home, love this time with my kids, and am finding the peace in what has become a hectic life.

Rebecca.

Today is a funny day, on chatting to my colleges this morning I said I didn't think it was as bad as I was expecting. But having the reality of the strict new infection numbers needed to move to COVID-normal, I think I would now retract my statement. 

I agree that science and data needs to support our decision and keeping this stage four up for a few more weeks seems like something I can push through but I don't have kids to home school and I have space to get out into my garden or walk along the beach e.g. I'm not in a one bedroom flat with no outside space. 

It's hard to look at those numbers that are needed for the less restricted stages and feel hopeful or not slightly resentful when other states are experiences these numbers with very few restrictions in place. My mental capacity to stay positive is dwindling.

Sarah. 

I’m in support of the roadmap and the extension of stage four. The only thing I disagreed with was that the years three to 10 don’t have a date to return to school to look forward to. I’m a primary teacher (year two) and think that the year six kids needed to be in the first wave of kids returning to school. I’m single and live alone so lockdown has not been easy, especially when my Nanna in Adelaide died at 97 years old and we couldn’t go to her funeral or gather as a family. But I don’t want to spend Christmas alone! We can do this! 

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Paula.

I'm worn out, just tired to my bones with the constant juggling of kids remote learning (six and 10 years old), working full time and keeping house and home running. We don't have all those props anymore that allowed us to work at our professional jobs, no before/after school care, no holiday programs, no cleaners, or even just help from other parents to juggle kids. The mental load is more than I've ever had to cope with previously. 

On top of that, the novelty of board games, jigsaws, daily walks and bike rides has diminished and we are all just craving something to look forward to. I support the Victorian Government and the desire to get us back to normal before Christmas but I might collapse in a heap before then. The kids are fed up, lost motivation with remote learning, and really need to be back at school and with friends.

I feel that the plan laid out is a blanket approach and it needs more nuance to consider the real pain people are feeling. The only bright spot in all of this is playgrounds will be open. Though that is strange, are we allowed to talk to other parents? I just think that as strong as we have been, there are limits, and we are probably getting pushed past what we can cope with.

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Shivanii.

The news yesterday was a bit of a blow, even though it was exactly what I had expected. At the moment I’m just glad that we have a plan to get out of this and there’s the possibility of having a semi-normal life by Christmas. Having checkpoints/dates has really eased my anxiety around what’s coming up. 

Anna.

It honestly sucks to feel like we’ve been doing the right thing the whole year to now be back where we started whilst everyone else seems to be getting back to life as normal. It has really tested the rhetoric that “we’re all in this together” because we are not, and it’s also tested the trope that we can get out of this if we do the right thing because for most of us, we have been doing the right thing and seeing no tangible end in sight.

Sarah.

I fully back our government's decisions, as tough as they are. I’m sad, and I want to get back to normal too, but I really don’t want a third wave and this potentially blowing out even further. I’m a mum and a teacher. I’m really struggling with the pressure of people stomping their feet and demanding students back in the classroom. I don’t know a single teacher who doesn’t want to be back to normal. We miss our students, we worry and care about them, and honestly, remote teaching is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Especially with two kids at home. 

Teachers want more than anything to be back in the classroom, but we don’t want to be the sacrificial lambs thrown back in before it is safe to do so. I feel like everyone is turning on one another right now, and they’ve stopped showing empathy and understanding as they’ve been overrun by stress and anxiety.

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Rebecca.

So, so disheartened. Had a big cry last night. These measures are too full on, I feel like I've landed in a George Orwell novel. So many liberties taken away, toying with our hopes followed by giving us a massive blow yesterday. It seems ludicrous that the PM agrees it's too harsh, yet seemingly can't do anything about it. So hard to stay positive. 

Alyce. 

I’m exhausted and I miss my family. I gave birth to my first child at the end of May. I didn’t mind being in lockdown whilst pregnant, as it provided my partner and I the opportunity to spend some quality time together before bub arrived. When bub was born, our mums and siblings briefly met our son for a few weeks. I had hoped to start introducing our bub to extended family and friends once he turned six weeks... lockdown 2.0 started the day he turned six weeks. 


I feel sad that our families haven’t been able enjoy watching our son grow up. He has he grown so much since lockdown started. I also haven’t had the opportunity to join a mums group and socialise with friends the way I’d expected to be spending my maternity leave. I’m grieving what I had envisioned early motherhood to be like. I understand the need for lockdown, and am happy to abide by all restrictions. All I wish for is that we are able to see our immediate family. 

Maz. 

It bloody sucks and is very disappointing. I realise that it has to be rolled out over time, but the 5km/no visiting anyone else is so detrimental to physical and mental health. At least playgrounds open next week, thank god, my poor three year old has been beside himself not being able to go for months and doesn’t understand why. Too little to ride a bike or similar activities. I expected an extension but I am so disappointed there’s not any leeway upcoming and think the ‘number’ prerogative is ridiculous.

Kiera.

I’m feeling positive. The roadmap is clear and timelined, we have targets to work for and numbers to reach. I feel like this is so much better than the first one as we are at the point where we can see a way out. To be fair, I haven’t stopped in isolation and I have still been at working at my primary school, so that has kept me busy and distracted. I am so excited to see my students again in term four, and even just the idea of Christmas makes me excited. I took it all for granted before and I won’t again. I haven’t really paid attention to the rest of the world or other states, we are in our bubble anyway so there’s no point checking if their grass looks greener. Some people have it better and others have it worse, I’m happy I have anything at all.

Lisa.

It sucks that stage four will be for longer, but I can see the things that have changed are actually helping. Playgrounds will be open again and the singles visitor allowance will help a lot. The roadmap actually gives me hope. I can set some goal posts for the next few months. I’m really glad we have a leader who is not interested in being popular at this time. Trying please everyone isn’t going to protect the vulnerable. We can see the benefit of the lockdown and masks everyday in the numbers. I don’t want all the sacrifice to be for nothing if we have restrictions reimposed later. We have to work on delayed gratification as a society. We have forgotten how to do that.

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Laura.

I'm grateful to live in a city where the government values my wellbeing and health, and is communicating their plans in such a considered and scientific manner. As someone who has been isolated due to health for the majority of 2019, and now completely isolated for the majority of another year, I am also frustrated and lonely like so many others. But I am grateful to everyone (well, most people) for their patience, as vulnerable people like myself (with a suppressed immune system) would be isolated for a lot longer if we didn't work to reduce the risk as much as possible before reopening.

Arlene.

I’m a single mum with a five year old that I have 100% care of. It’s been really difficult and I’m so disappointed and saddened by yesterday’s announcement. But I also understand why we have these restrictions and timeline. I’m finding that people are becoming more agitated and angry with each other. It doesn’t feel like a united front anymore

Katie. 

I’m 100% percent behind the governments roadmap, it’s give us hope for a way out. Lockdown has been has an absolute struggle. I had my third child in Feb, my partner is an essential worker and is working at the office, which has left me remote learning with my grade one, juggling a three year old and newborn at the same time. I just look for silver linings, my children have a much stronger bond together. The local community has really stepped up and banded together, I’m very lucky to be a part of local online mum’s page. It has a very strong presence.

Emma.

To be honest with you, it is completely shattering. I, like many other Victorians, have been following the rules and doing the right thing for many weeks and months and now feel like the light at the end of the tunnel is so much further away. I live with my parents who have both lost their jobs and are feeling it very heavily. I was pre-approved to purchase a house (I had been saving up since I was 15) and now I can't go and look at anything due to the restrictions. I feel as though Victorians are being punished for the government's mishandling of the hotel quarantine situation (which was probably bad luck more than anything else) as it seems like they are adopting this hard-line stance to make up for it. I have felt more rage than I have ever felt in my life, and I am so incredibly sad a lot of the time.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, where Mia, Holly and Jessie discuss the latest COVID restrictions for those living in Melbourne. Post continues after podcast.

Anna. 

I wasn't very surprised to hear that the Melbourne lockdown was going to continue. The numbers just weren't low enough and I'm a little bit relieved that the government have chosen to err on the side of caution and keep us safe for as long as possible. It's really hard, I'm home with my three small kids working part-time and my husband's also working from home. I haven't seen my family in weeks. I haven't seen most of my friends in months but I feel like it's hard to say to a lot of my friends that I'm relieved and not surprised about lockdown continuing because so many people are so upset and so distressed. 

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Hannah.

I feel a deep sense of sadness and grief regarding the circumstances our state is in. I also feel angry about the criticism that is being directed towards the roadmap, Dan Andrews and the state politicians in general. But mostly I feel immensely grateful for everyone who is trying their best, front-line workers, citizens and especially the team headed by Dan Andrews, who are trying so incredibly hard to do the best they can for every Victorian and learning along the way. 

Louise. 

I live in regional VIC, so I'm living in stage three. Dealing with home schooling primary kids, eldest lives elsewhere so can't visit, have a hubby on reduced hours and I'm an essential worker. While I believe we need lockdown and restrictions, I am starting to feel less and less optimistic about it all and our future. This roadmap looks so unattainable so me. I feel that it needs to be a bit more balanced. The world won't have zero cases for weeks at a time anymore, it's time to be realistic with this roadmap because these goals feel so far away. I feel there isn't enough balance. You can't lock people up forever to control the virus, this should be the last resort, not the first anymore. I respect Dan Andrews and his team but we just can't do this forever.

Rachael.

I know it’s sounds odd but I’m overwhelmed. Trying to wrap my head around yet another set of rules and complexities just takes brain space I don’t have. We are fortunate to have jobs and the whole family are healthy, but schooling from home is a challenge. I was talking to my son's teacher today and working through support strategies as he has additional needs and has gone from being a year ahead of where he needs to be, to barely keeping up with his class because he has no aid at home and I’m trying to juggle full-time remote work in a busy job. What makes me sad is that we are not the exception, there are so many in the same boat or in worse scenarios. I do however, love the ways that people have banded together and are showing care for others in a way that I’ve never seen before. 

Freya.

As tough as it is, I was relieved to see the details of the roadmap. I’m grateful we have a government who listens to public health and medical experts and are making the tough decisions needed to keep us safe long term. Of course, it's awful and I am finding it hard. But it’s a matter of weeks and if it’s going to save thousands of lives then it’s a no brainer for me. We can do it Victorians! We are already doing so well!

Do you live in Victoria? Let us know how you're feeling in the comments below. 

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you're based in Australia, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636.

Kid's Helpline is also available on 1800 551 800.

Feature Image: Getty.

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