Facing the imminent birth of his first child in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, a father pens her a letter.
Dear baby girl,
I’m sitting in your room as I write this. Mummy has done a great job getting everything ready for you. It’s perfect, just like you will be. Tomorrow, you’re due and we’ll go to the hospital and you’ll be here. I can’t believe it. We thought you would come last week but you’ve given us time. Maybe you’ve heard the news we’ve been watching and decided it’s safer to stay inside. Maybe you don’t want to come out? I understand. The world is a crazy place right now. I’m working from home. I don’t want to catch COVID-19 and pass it on to you.
The world has changed, darling. Seven months ago, when we found out you were coming, we would never have thought the world we were bringing you into would look like this. Life was pretty amazing last year and this news—the news that you were coming into our lives—was the best news we had received.
The past few months have seen fires, floods, drought and climate change debates raging across the country, coming closer to home with each new disaster. And now home is all we have. Stuck inside. But I’m glad that I’ll see you in your first few months, working from home and being able to be near you.
I hope that this whole situation has finished before you can even form memories that will stay with you. I hope that you can spend time with your grandparents when the borders are opened and we can travel to see them. I hope you can go to school and make friends and be as social as you want or choose to be, not locked inside.
I’m scared for you. I don’t know whether things will ever be the same, and although I was never sure how to navigate fatherhood, I knew that together we’d work it out. Now there are so many unknowns: Whether we’ll have enough money to look after you, how to provide for you if the whole system comes crashing down, if you’ll be able to meet your extended family soon or whether we’ll be isolated for a few months, what we’ll do to keep safe and well—mentally and physically—so we can be in the best shape to look after you . . . so many unknowns.
RELEVANT: TALKING TO YOUR CHILDREN ABOUT COVID-19
I’m not too worried about you catching the virus at this stage. I mean, I don’t want you to ever be sick or get hurt, but I know that’s not possible to guarantee in this world. Hopefully we’re all young enough to survive it. But I am worried about your grandparents. Both of your grandfathers have some of the high risk factors for COVID-19 and if they catch it . . . well, I don’t like to think what could happen.
They’re upset they don’t get to meet you too. My parents can’t travel from Adelaide and my dad only has one lung. Your mum’s parents are driving distance away but they are having lots of outside contact and we can’t risk it. Also your grandpa’s been in hospital and hospitals are restricting visitors as well. They wanted to be there when you were born but we can’t risk it now! We will Facetime them, but it won’t be the same. I hope your mum and I are OK as just the three of us for a while. We have amazing friends and neighbours so I’m sure we will have support if we need it—but we don’t know where this thing will end or how long it will last, so it is a bit scary.
But in my fear, I have hope. Because you’re a miracle. Our miracle. For seven years we hoped and prayed and waited for you. Now that you’re almost here, I can’t believe it and I’m so happy and ready to enjoy it. Even though the situation isn’t ideal I know you are a blessing. Your mummy and daddy really, really wanted you and we tried a lot of things. We could hardly believe we were pregnant. Mummy took five tests before she believed it.
At 20 weeks in, we found out you might come early. We were so scared that you would come too early and be at risk of so many things. Mummy had to go through a lot and we sat through heaps of appointments to keep you safe. And we made it. We all made it to your full term. Now, instead of the scary things being things that could happen inside Mummy, there are scary things outside. They are things we can’t control and we will try to keep you safe and well, but you have to come out and we can’t control all of those things.
With your arrival, so many things in our lives are about to change. This was going to be a huge transition for us anyway, but I wish it didn’t have to happen while everything else is falling apart.
I can promise that some things will not change. We’ve loved you since the moment we first heard your heartbeat in the ultrasound room. We’ve loved you every appointment (and there have been many), every anxious growth scan, every cervix scan, every time we’ve heard you or seen you move, we’ve fallen more and more in love with you. Our love will remain.
RELEVANT: MY BRUSH WITH COVID-19
Every prayer we’ve prayed, we’ve hoped you'd make it to full term and with perfect health. Our prayers will remain. Even though your grandparents won’t meet you for a while, they still pray for you and they love you too! In fact, you’ve got family and friends all around the world who are waiting to meet you, have prayed for you for a long time and already love you! So, it’s not all bad out here. We’ve got each other and love is what we need most. There is no short supply of love in the family you are getting.
I can’t wait to meet you now. I can’t believe that by the end of tomorrow, I will hopefully hold you in my arms and I know that all my fears and anxieties about everything will evaporate as we look at each other for the first time.
Chances are the world will get through this and things will go back to the way they were. You will be too young to remember any of this and it will pass into history. I hope that’s the case. I hope you grow up with the chance to be anything you want to be. I hope that you’ll get to travel the world, like Mummy and Daddy have, so that you can meet new people and experience new things and have a broader perspective.
Your mummy and daddy won’t get everything right but we promise to love and protect you to the best of our ability. We hope that we can teach you to love God and love others. We pray that wherever the next few months take us, we can stay together as a family and face the challenges together. And Daddy hopes that you’ll be Daddy’s little girl and we can have many adventures and read many bedtime stories together.
See you soon my little darling. Your beautiful room is waiting for you.