March 15th 2021. Your first birthday. How has that happened?
I don’t know how I feel. Happy or sad? You arrived nine weeks early, spent weeks in hospital but miraculously you’ve grown into a healthy, happy little boy. I shouldn’t ask for anything more.
Yet I’m heartbroken for all you have missed out on during your first year. You weren’t able to see your Dad for two whole weeks during your time in hospital due to Covid restrictions. You didn’t meet your brother until you came home over five weeks after you were born. You’ve missed out on countless cuddles and smiles with family who live on the other side of the country.
You’ve had to make do with an exhausted Mum, struggling with juggling an energetic toddler and a tiny premmie with no support. A Mum who had planned during pregnancy to have lots of help, particularly in the early weeks, from grandparents, friends and toddler groups to occupy your brother.
I worry so much how lockdown will have affected you. You have no baby friends. You haven’t experienced the classes and activities I spent my days taking your brother to. You’ve spent far too many hours cuddled in the sling as your brother played outside. You’ve not been able to properly discover the world. They tell new mums that the first few years of life are the most important for development, but with everything closed and cancelled I fear for all you have missed.
Sometimes I feel like I’ve failed you, but then your smile lights up your face. You are the happiest baby, you love exploring and save your best belly giggles for your big brother. You can crawl as fast as lightning and will be walking very soon. You have four teeth now and are definitely enjoying the variety of food that comes with being able to bite! I’m so proud of everything you’ve overcome in the past year and I just hope we were enough.