Here are ten things I might have done differently had I known my son would be born with a genetic condition and severe autism.
1. Instead of signing up for breast feeding classes I would have signed up instead for Makaton classes as breastfeeding was a breeze compared to trying to help my child communicate.
2. Instead of researching and stocking up on first size baby nappies I would have researched continence products for school aged children as these would be used much more than tiny cute baby nappies.
3. Instead of wandering for hours looking at prams and buggies in cute baby blue and beautiful baby patterns, I should have instead been looking into wheelchairs and buggies for three year olds that still are not walking. Cute colours and fancy foot muffs were actually not such a big thing after all. He would outgrow the buggy much quicker than the wheelchair.
4. When looking at teething toys and rattles I should have looked more at practicality than cost since seven years on he is still chewing on them and shaking the rattles the same way he did at six months old.
5. When he made me sick with hormones instead of complaining I should have been more grateful. These days he makes me sick with worry for a lot longer than a few months.
6. Instead of worrying over eating the right foods and keeping myself healthy I would have worried less. When your child has special needs you will look back and blame yourself for everything anyway so I wish I had enjoyed that pregnancy more and not consumed myself with fear over the thought something may happen to contain nuts. Nowadays I have so much more to worry about.
7. I would have cared far less about my changing body and stretch marks. These are nothing compared to the birth marks my child was born with.
8. I would have sang to my baby more in the womb. Some days holding his hand and singing to him like I did back then still brings that same sense of overwhelming calmness and peace we both felt all that time ago. I should have treasured that more.
9. I would have been grateful for the through the night toilet trips more. I had no idea they were preparing me for sleepless nights for many, many years to come.
10. I would have shared more about you. Now I share so much of you with paediatricians, hospitals and specialist and looking back I wish I had shared your first kicks, your first hiccups in the womb and hearing your first heartbeat more. I never wanted to bore people but now I realise how precious you are and wish I had shared your love and your miracle of life sooner.
Of course I had no idea you would be so perfect, yet so unique.
I loved carrying you inside me but I love seeing you and being with you even more now.
Thirty-seven weeks and five days was not enough to prepare for you so now I am just doing everything I can to keep on preparing, learning and enjoying you every single moment of every single day you are here.
There will always be things I wish I had done different, but you, my son, will never ever be one of them.