My dear little blue-eyed girl… (a letter to our lockdown baby who is nine months old)
What a precious milestone this is! After almost nine months in my tummy, you have been entrusted to us for a whole nine months and we cannot imagine life without you! I would like to look back and tell you about some of the lessons I have learned and emotions I went through in the past eighteen months, it definitely was a memorable time. Maybe we will look back one day and treasure even these crazy events.
When we found out you were on your way, we were ecstatic! Your brother would be a “big brother”, he would have a friend! We have been waiting and praying for you. We were still living in Belgium and thought you would be born there. But God had other plans for us, and we are so thankful for His provision and protection!
We flew back to SA when I was 25weeks pregnant and all our friends and family happily awaited your arrival with us. We started to hear rumours of a new virus called COVID-19 that started to spread in China, but we were still enjoying the South African sun and not too worried.
As your expected date of delivery came near, the virus also showed its ugly head. The first patient in South Africa was diagnosed as COVID-19 positive in March 2020. Before we knew it things started to change. A National Lockdown was announced that started on the 26th of March 2020. Your last doctor’s appointments were minimised and dad could not join us in the doctor’s rooms. Fear spread across our nation and nobody knew what to expect in the hospitals.
But God’s goodness and mercy will always follow you my little girl! A few days later you decided to enter the world and what a delight it was! (Read more about her VBAC birth here). The hospital was still quite empty so we had a lot of space all to ourselves. We were very privileged that Dad could still come in once a day to visit. You and I spent the rest of our alone time just gazing into each other’s eyes. Your big brother was at home, spoiled with love from your grandparents who were “locked-down” with us.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Ps 23:6
Back at home we had a lot of time to adjust to our new normal as a family of 4 because dad could not work. (This also had other implications, but we God continued to be our provider). Our 6-week appointment at the paediatrician and gyne was your first time out of the house… into a world filled with masked people. How brave you were to see all these strange new people, who you could only read by the expression in their eyes, and still you smiled at them!
The world you have inhabited for the last 9 months is a bit different than the one your brother knew, but you have still thrived! I wanted to give you everything the same as your brother, but I had to learn that sometimes “different is better“, and that I have to surrender all the “control” I thought I had. Here are some of the other lessons the pandemic taught me:
- Babies do not need a lot to be happy. Malls over-stimulate them and car seats are hot and bothersome. You loved our early-morning walks in your Ubuntu baba carrier, our quiet afternoons at home, reading with your brother.
- Time is of the essence… babies grow and change so quickly. This pandemic gave me, your dad and your big brother more time with you. We realised life is short; you do not have a guarantee that you or your loved ones will be spared, so we appreciate every minute we spend with you.
- Grandparents are gold. We made some sacrifices to move closer to our family, but during this time when travel is so precarious, we are so thankful we are close to them so they can watch you grow and enjoy this time with you. It has also been a tremendous help for us with two littles.
- Sanitizing and social distancing helps to prevent all infections. You have not had one sniffle or blocked nose and for that I am so grateful! I think all families with newborns should be “locked-down” for the first few weeks to give babies time to settle and to stay healthy!
- Adjusting to life with two children was so much easier while we had nowhere to rush to. Yes there were moments where you and your brother were crying, but because dad was home a lot, and we could stick to your routines, things (mostly) went smoothly.
- God was not surprised by this pandemic. He is still in control and He has kept us safe through it all. We will always tell you of the big and small ways in which He has made a way for us during this time.
There are a few things that I am sorry you have missed out on, and I pray that God will give it back to you in abundance:
- Most of our friends and family still have not met you. I pray that you will know that you are loved by them all and that when you finally get to hug them that you will blossom in that love!
- You could finally put your feet in the sand when you were 3.5months old, even though we live at the coast! I pray that you will be able to walk and run and play on the beaches of our beautiful country until you are old and grey.
- You did not have any “play-dates” with babies of your own age, I mingled with moms online for support. I pray that you will still make extraordinary memories with very special friends in the future.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us”Ephesians 3:20
Your story and your birth year will always be associated with a world-wide pandemic. Own it. You were born for a time such as this, and I know God will write the rest of your story for His glory!
Lots of love, your Mom!