Without a doubt the two biggest highs have been marrying the love of my life Amy in 2016. That was then followed by the safe arrival of our beautiful son Reggie a year later.
Now, I will tell you guys something which I have not told anybody else because it makes me feel like I am doing something wrong - or I am a failure.
But being a dad terrifies me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a dad - especially to our beautiful son Reggie.
But being responsible for another life is petrifying.
It is especially difficult when I have difficulties such as my memory or my weak left hand.
So for example, changing nappies is difficult.
The best way I can explain it is my left hand just locks up tight like a clenched fist - making flexibility or manuverability difficult.
But I have at least managed to change a few nappies.
This then puts extra pressure on my amazing wife Amy - who has enough on her plate anyway as my carer and a working mum.
This brings me back to the classic phrase: ‘brain injuries don’t just affect one person.’
In most families, as we have seen with the lovely people we have met in the NCT Group, and - as sexist as it sounds - but the father tends to be the one who goes back to work with the mother looking after the baby.
However, as I have had so much difficulty finding work since moving down to the south coast, the onus has then fallen on Amy to go back to work and being the bread winner of our family. This then brings on further huge feelings of guilt for me. Amy works all day on Wednesday plus four afternoons on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday as a primary school teacher.
Another phrase we have found useful in my recovery is ‘brain injuries love routine.’ As it turns out, babies are exactly the same.
This has proved particularly helpful for me.
Therefore, our weekly routine with Reggie consists of us taking him to nursery on Monday and Tuesday afternoons. Then on Wednesdays, we call it “Nanna Day” because my mother-in-law looks after him all day. That then leaves me to look after the little guy on Thursday and Friday afternoons.
Maybe the anxiety caused by the mere thought of Thursday and Friday afternoon is because of the fact I struggle to take care my myself - let alone Reggie.
The damage caused by the bleed to my brain impairs the decision making centres - therefore I struggle to judge situations correctly.
This means Amy effectively has to be the brain for three of us - me, Reggie and herself.
So for example, as silly as it sounds, but I am never sure when or if I should change Reggie’s nappy. Now common sense would simply dictate: ‘just smell his bum.’ But again, my brain injury means I have “impaired common sense.”
This may sound absurd - to the point of hilarity - but this is genuinely the case.
The problem with babies' routines are they change gradually over time and I can't keep up. Amy so effortlessly says 'he's tired he needs to go down for his nap earlier.' I on the other hand struggle with this because it is out of the norm. I find it difficult to deviate from the plan, Amy tries to prepare me for every eventuality but most of the time we just keep those afternoons simple.
I know I can keep Reggie safe, and I am so glad Amy agrees too. I know she found it very difficult at the beginning watching me lift a tiny Reggie with one hand not working properly. Fortunately we had great support from the brain injury team here who did an assessment of me picking Reggie up and there words like: 'it doesn't look ideal or comfortable but Reggie and Will are both safe.'
It's hard being limited by your own brain and trying to be a Dad with a broken brain is very challenging. It was hard causing Amy so much anxiety in those early months. It's hard not remembering previous weeks' successes. It's hard feeling like my brain is stopping me being the Dad I could be - should have been.
All I do know is, I will not let my brain stop me from being the best Dad I can be now, to the best boy in the world!