Posted by Juliette
So far I have found it relatively easy to write posts as they just recount our experiences. This one however, poses more of a challenge as I'm looking for an answer.
I'm sure many mums will know what I mean when I say that your personal space changes when you are either pregnant or have a new baby. I think it changed in two ways when I was pregnant: Firstly I wanted more personal space, particularly on the tube where there is always an intrusion and I was wary of being pushed. Other people however, thought I needed less personal space and people who I wouldn't usually kiss hello with suddenly felt the need to rub or touch my bump. I never minded when people asked but people didn't always ask! Secondly, complete strangers wanted to know how the pregnancy was going. I know that people were just being friendly but sometime the Londoner in me struggles with talking to strangers and I crave my anonymity; the last thing I want to do is discuss such a personal issue with them.
Once you've had the baby this invasion continues: shoppers in supermarkets stick their hands and head into the buggy to take a look at the wee cutie and others stroke the baby's head or grab a hand to squeeze. People that you know only vaguely who fancy a cuddle just expect you to hand the baby over.
It's plain to see that all this irritated me when Joseph, my first child, was a baby but it has become an anxiety rather than an irritation now that Sammy has been diagnosed with CF. One of our jobs as Sammy's parents is to protect him from infection where possible yet still lead a 'normal' life. Each infection he does get has the potential to reduce his lung function which has very serious consequences for him, and he may also need to be admitted to hospital for treatment if it can't be managed by drugs at home. This will of course be stressful and very disruptive to the whole family so infections are best avoided where possible.
Sammy will be going to nursery when he is old enough where he will be exposed to lots of infections. By the time this happens I hope his weight will be normal for his age and also that he is fit, perhaps even sporty and will have developed some immunity. At this stage however, he has none of this to protect him so I have my dilemma. Do I let people coo and stroke my beautiful child who, incidentally, and to make the challenge harder, smiles back at them; or do I tell them DON'T TOUCH and hand them antibacterial hand rub to make my point? How am I to know who has clean and who has dirty hands, who has a virus and who suffers from hay fever?
The truth is I still don't have the answer though I'd hoped writing this would have provided one. I'm struggling to find the balance between being polite and being hysterical. Perhaps experience is the only way I can find out what to do. Just cut me a bit of slack if you notice I pull away when I see you coming up for a tickle or to tell me how cute Sammy is.