A little over two years after my daughter Tilly was born prematurely and didn’t survive, I am about to start paternity leave.
When Tilly was born, it was hard to imagine I’d ever reach this point. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to, and I wasn’t sure we’d even want to.
But as time has moved on, so have Charlotte and I, and we now can’t wait to bring our son into the world.
As I write this, I still have a couple of days to go until Charlotte is booked in for her caesarean section which will introduce us to him, and him to us. I’m still nervous. Things could still go wrong. But I’m hopeful they won’t.
Having a baby during lockdown feels weird, and it has its advantages and disadvantages. On the negative side, we’ve spent more of this pregnancy ‘going it alone’ than we might have imagined. We’ve had to manage with online antenatal classes and text message tips from friends.
At every point where Charlotte has had to visit hospital, we’ve been a bit scared of the coronavirus risk.
However, Charlotte has been able to work from home, which has made life much easier. We’ve also had plenty of time to prepare for the birth – to do things like make our small home baby-proof and to create a welcoming nursery.
The lockdown is being eased at exactly the right time for us. We’re pleased, but not half as pleased as the grandparents.
As I now work from home, I also know that when I return to work following a few weeks off, I won’t miss our child growing up (though that also means I won’t be able to escape his needs at any point!).
Despite having plenty of time to prepare, the relentless nature of our current working environment, busy jobs, and getting used to strange, not-quite-normal lives means that I am not sure it’s hit me fully yet.
I am sure it quickly will, and like everyone tells me, life will then never be the same again.
So, if you see me anytime soon and I look dazed and confused, you know why. Do feel free to say hello – I might just need it.
For now, I will finish clearing out my inbox and making sure the work I’ve been doing is not neglected. And then?
Well, I’ll see you on the other side. As a father. Bringing up a son.