RECESS usually means catching up on work around the constituency. That hasn't really been the case so far. I've taken two weeks annual leave and not done any kind of work as the local AM. Its been a special time as I've become a Dad for the first time.
The advice that people gave us was broadly that: your life will change forever, enjoy sleep while you can and it is all worth it. That's how it feels. Throughout the pregnancy and now as we start out as parents we have been supported by friends, family and the NHS. The midwifery service supported us with ante-natal appointments, classes and advice. On the day we had excellent care from midwives and doctors who helped to deliver our son. That continued with the staff who cared for my wife and son when she stayed in hospital.
I didn't get preferential treatment. Hardly any of the staff knew that I'm an AM. They were simply doing their job - providing care, support and advice to a new family. The support we had continued when we got home. The midwife visits supported us with the most nervous steps of caring for our child without health professionals around the corner. We're now looking forward to seeing our health visitor.
Throughout all of this we both said we were lucky to have the NHS. Nobody asked us how we would pay or whether we had private healthcare insurance to cover all of the treatment and care. We knew we didn't need to pay for visits to see a midwife or GP or pay the real price of medication. That is commonplace in other developed countries but does not happen here.
Our NHS isn't perfect and doesn't get it right every time but what the NHS achieves every day is truly amazing. We should not take it for granted. We should beware those voices that want to introduce profit and privatisation to the NHS. We should cherish and be proud of our NHS even as we seek further improvement. I am grateful beyond words.