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Today is Monday 20th September 2021. I am writing this with tears pouring down my face at 9.50am because the Covid- 19 pandemic has stolen yet another milestone from my baby and me.

Today was supposed to be my son’s first day at childcare. We had navigated the authorised workers’ permits, online click-and-collect shopping for the essential items and we made it to 90 minutes before we were due to set off for this momentous day before Covid wiggled its way in. We just got the dreaded text. “Hi, so a friend we bumped into on Wednesday has just tested positive and we saw you guys at that park on Friday….’ Surely we all know the drill by now. These messages mean a prod up the nose and then waiting for a text like a lovesick teenager for that negative result.

We are used to it right?
Well yes we are. 

Except that today it feels like the crappy sprinkles on the rubbish icing of a pretty crummy cake. Gearing up to leave a baby in the care of someone other than their parents is a huge step whenever it is taken. In ‘normal’ circumstances there are lots of feelings- nerves, trepidation, guilt, excitement etc etc. The moment is carefully prepared for, photos are taken and praise heaped on the baby for their first independent adventure.

For me the day was made bigger by all the layers the pandemic has added to my first year as a mother. There are the practical ones: like the fact that my baby has never been looked after by anyone other than me and my husband, because those people who we might have left him with- my parents and sister have never even met him. The fact that he has spent so much of his short life in lockdown with just the two of us, means that he is extremely attached to us and really has zero experience of being with anyone else. 

There are also the emotional layers for me. Beyond our very strong attachment, there is my ever present feeling that the pandemic owes me some milestone moments. The pandemic stole my pregnancy. There was no bump patting, pregnancy photoshoot, babymoon, baby shopping etc etc. The pandemic stole my birth. There were no hospital visits and my baby didn’t see anyone (apart from his parents) smile for the first 8 weeks of his life as everyone he saw was in a mask. 

The Pandemic has stolen all of the milestone moments so far- the big and the small:  everything from the fact that my son still has yet to meet his Grandparents and his Aunty and Uncle to the fact that his first term of swimming lessons has been cut short by lockdown to his first birthday which set to be in the middle of another lockdown with no friends, no family and no party.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna THIS moment of transition, his first day of childcare, I felt sure couldn’t be whipped away. I had the permit clutched in my sweaty paw…

But this is it isn’t it? This is right at the heart of being a Pandemic Parent, I just forgot it for a second. As a Pandemic parent we are not allowed to plan. Anything. At . All. 

At some point in the future I hope I will be grateful for this time, and the lessons I learnt about living for the present moment rather than projecting into the future. I hope I will feel grateful for the time spent with my two favourite people, my husband and my son. I hope I will feel grateful for the quiet days with my baby. I hope I will feel grateful for the rest and routine I could give him. I hope I will feel grateful that lockdowns have kept us safe and healthy.

For today though, this Pandemic Parent feels sad for all the moments that have been greedily gobbled for my first year of being a Mama.

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