A Dad’s perspective

This Father’s Day we share a blog written for us by Bertie’s dad, Richard about their relationship.

Well where do I start? It’s been an emotional rollercoaster that couldn’t have had a happier ending.  I’m Richard, Bertie’s Dad and I would love to share my relationship as his Dad with you and how it has grown from first having his diagnosis.

When Bertie’s Mom Melissa told me he would be born with Down syndrome my instant reaction was “that isn’t a problem at all”.  And it honestly wasn’t.  However as time went on and I  heard more about Bertie’s other health problems – 2 holes in his heart, leaky heart valves etc. my fear began to grow and emotionally I began to switch off from him and the situation.  With Mel and I not being in a relationship and her living in Birmingham and me living in Surrey, it was easy to bury my head in the sand, detach and pretend it wasn’t happening.  Many things were going through my head – would he survive pregnancy? And if he did, would he then survive heart surgery?  However when I held Bertie for the first time all of these fears disappeared.

Mel and I would meet half way at weekends so I could be with Bertie, but when his heart began to fail in early January 2020 and he was admitted into hospital, I decided to move up to Birmingham as I couldn’t bear to be away from him for a moment.  We were given a room in the Ronald McDonald house at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where we stayed for the next 3 months whilst Bertie had heart and bowel surgery.  Although we were in hospital it was a great time for me to bond with my son, which was completely amazing.

Bertie has gone from strength to strength and I love every moment I get to spend with him.  I live and work just 5 minutes from Mel’s house which is fantastic because I get to spend all of my free time with him.  Mel and I are best friends and co-parent really well, Bertie and his brother Dei are at the forefront of all of our decisions.

Bertie is such a little character, he continuously smiles and has a big impact on everyone he meets.  Any fears I had for Bertie’s future have gone, in fact I’m looking forward to the future and the adventures that Bertie and I will have.  I feel very proud and lucky to be his Dad and I for one definitely  “wouldn’t change a thing”.

Although Bertie isn’t speaking yet, so he can’t tell you he loves you, he really doesn’t have to as he communicates it all with his eyes.  He is very talkative and always touching my face and pulling my beard, he constantly wants to be close to mummy, Daddy or Dei, he is very very sociable.  I’m also very proud that Bertie has been chosen to be an Ambassador for WCAT, hopefully this is the start of a beautiful life long relationship!