Devoted father, husband, social activist, author and academic.
9th April 2020
Having a baby on in the midst of the most serious global pandemic for a century brings its own challenges and frustrations. I missed most of the first two weeks of his life in self-isolation to protect him, having developed covid-19 symptoms myself, then self-isolating with our other son who developed a fever.
Our family and friends have been unable to meet our little one, rites of passage like baby blessings which would normally have allowed us to share our bundle of joy with the world have been cancelled, and it feels somewhat unnerving that in the absence of being able to obtain a birth certificate due to the lockdown, our son will be legally invisible for perhaps many months to come.
Meanwhile our 4-year old, whose world has already been turned upside down by the arrival of his little brother who has taken his parents’ attention away, knows that there is something deeply significant going on. Nursery has been cancelled, he can’t see his friends or help us with the shopping anymore, and the big, busy world he lived in has got quieter and quieter and quieter.
A perceptive and sensitive young boy, the other day he woke up and with his bottom lip trembling I looked into his big blue eyes and he told me “daddy, I think I’ve got the Coronavirus.” Like all parents, we have had to invent coping strategies to help him make sense of things. There are some fantastic resources out there and he has particularly taken to one story we read him as he clutches his beloved Spiderman doll. We encourage him to think of himself as a “Stay At Home Superhero” who by staying in, is saving the world from “the big problem” it faces. He also takes particular joy in banging a saucepan on his doorstep every Thursday in support of the NHS workers who are battling away for us all on the front line.
Meanwhile, we called our baby Noah. A reference to the biblical story in which a momentous global tragedy sparked an entirely new way of thinking and doing among humanity. Following the storm, a new world was constructed in which evil, greed and hate was replaced by love, solidarity and community. This is my hope again this time. We owe it to our children.