18th September 2020: The Black Dog

18th September 2020: The Black Dog

Dear Edith,

It’s been a while since I’ve written something. I wanted to write regularly and document every tiny moment of your early life, every little adventure we went on so you could look back and have a little storybook of your first few months.

Unfortunately, the black dog has reared its head.

If I could spare you one thing as you get older, it’s this. I’ve struggled with my mental health before but usually I can stave it off by identifying it and recognising that how I feel isn’t real. This time it seems harder. The pandemic is raging on, and Scotland has just introduced some new restrictions that say you can’t meet more than six people from two households. I can still see your Granny and Granda, but the little group of mums and babies that met twice a week is a no-go. It was my anchor, the one moment of normality that made me forget that absolutely nothing is normal.

It’s hard. I’m struggling. I’m trying to motivate myself, but it’s difficult when every day there’s signs that the virus is creeping back again. The schools and nurseries have reopened and every day it seems like there’s a different primary school or nursery that’s had to close to kids because they’ve had an outbreak.

I’m sorry there’s such a gap in your story. There’s so much I could have written about. The way you’ve discovered your tongue and you used it to make a whole load of new noises. The way you’ve discovered how to alter the pitch of your voice so you can make increasingly high-pitched sounds. The way you can nearly roll over, if you could only figure out what to do with the arm that gets in your way. Your new game is shouting “ah!” and looking absolutely thrilled when I do it back. You had your first tummy bug – not serious, fortunately, but it did lead to me having to wipe sick my jeans with a soapy cloth in the toilets of a service station in Lancaster. I optimistically booked a spot at Santa’s Grotto in December, because I was devastated that, on top of everything else we’ve missed out on, I might not get to take you to see Santa for your first Christmas.

We’ll get through this, because we have to. I’m grateful for WhatsApp groups and social media for helping us maintain connections – it’s the only thing that’s stopping me from having a complete breakdown as the prospect of another lockdown starts to become a real possibility.

And we have you. You make everything better.