Have you ever felt completely alone in a room full of people? In the baby groups you hide your growing concerns in small talk with the other new mummies. You try and ignore the voices in your head and agree with those telling you everything will be alright, but deep down you know it won’t be.
It was in this muddle of emotions that I first found Little Hiccups. Emily had been hospitalised with seizures at 10 weeks old. Blood tests, lumbar puncture, EEGs and MRI scan followed but answers were few and far between. With a growing list of places where Emily and I no longer fitted in, Little Hiccups stay and play sessions quickly became the highlight of our week. A place where we could seek advice and understanding from others in similar situations. And if all Emily did was sleep while I ate my own body weight in biscuits, it didn’t matter. No one cared. I didn’t have to pretend that everything was ok.
Thanks to Little Hiccups we’ve enjoyed some fantastic experiences as a family – cinema trips where no one tuts if your child has to make a noise or run around, festive days out at Sundown Adventureland, steering a canal boat, cuddling a rabbit or even a snake a tarantula and Emily ‘paddling’ in her wheelchair at the beach. We can’t wait for Emily to sample skiing and skydiving in the years to come! I’ve crawled through mud and swam through freezing cold water to raise money and we’ve enjoyed a rare night out as a couple at the annual Little Hiccups Ball.
Since plucking up the courage to go to that first stay and play group seven years ago, Little Hiccups has been a massive support to our whole family. Alongside copious amounts of tea/coffee and biscuits, they’ve provided loads of advice, raised awareness of other groups and services, listened to our fears and shared our successes. Having a child with special needs can be a long and exhausting journey, but with Little Hiccups it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.