BACK in May A did a column oan the Baby Box an hoo a hid a tear in ma ee tae see aw the bonnie hings the Scottish Government hid gien us fir oor expectit bairnie – wi particular stress oan the fluffy-luggit jaikit that wis, if oniehing, ower-cute fir public consumption. The box representit tae me the wey a state cuid shaw care, near eneuch love, fir its citizens.

Ma bairnie wis born! An she’s oot o thon fluffy-luggit jaikit lang syne (91st centile – ma breistmilk isnae messin). Sax month syne at this exac moment in time A wis in a birthin pool in Larbert makkin soons lik a hale fairmyaird o beasts. A hid aw kind o preparation fir the frankly ridiculous actívity o labour, but whan A goat intae the midwife unit A jist stripped aff – claes an the modren warld – an went aboot the labour o labour in a wey no sae unalike frae the wey ma ancestors did. Twa howdie wifes, the bairnie’s faither an monie, monie, monie oors.

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An then, in the wey that happens, the modren warld endit up bein walcomed back aifter aw. Obstetric doctors, jags, drip, theatre, monitors an then, the auldest, newest hing of aw – a bawlin, reid, bonnie bairn. Frae the first scan a year past, tae haein fower Health Vísitors cluster roon tae admire the folds o chub on her wee hunkers oan Tuesday jist gone, it’s been an amazin experience tae be in the haunds o the NHS like nivver afore. An it his made me obsessed wi compares wi perinatal care and parental richts in ither kintras – here in the British Isles, an furth o thir islands an aw.

Noo, ma experience wull no be universal. Ma health board isnae the same as ither places in Scotland. But ma man’s brither an sister baith hid bairnies in England aroon the same time as us an the differs atween ma experience an theirs is strikin. Tak the Baby Box: A mind the longin in the vyce o ma sister-in-law whan A descrived the contents o the box. In particular whan A tellt her o the lug-thermometer – ‘They’re expensive! We had to find an all-night supermarket to get one at 3am.’ An it’s no naehin. Ain o the faithers spiered at by ‘ParentClub’, the Scottish Government’s hub fir parents, spak aboot hoo haein a guid thermometer affectit a call tae the doctor: ‘The fact that we cuid gie them accurate readins, they were jist like, “Naw, get him straight in.” So, turned out to be very essential. The doctor had actually says tae us, “If ye’d waited another two oors ye’d have lost him.”’ Ayont the box, ayont the labour ward, the differs whan we wan back hame wis marked. While mithers in London is hirplin in tae their first post-natal midwife appyntment wi a fower dey auld babby, A’d awriddy hid fower vísits in ma ain hame. A’d no een got oot o ma pyjamas. Awthegither “Auntie Lynn” cam echt or nine times in the first ten deys, so she cuid tak tent o ma recovery dey-by-dey. She lowdened ma body-wrackin fears o new parenthood, an kent whan tae send us back intae the hospital whan the wean hid the jandies. Or the bairn wis born, A wis frustratit tae hae a dífferent howdie wife at ivvry appyntment, but efter, Auntie Lynn wis magic.

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But naethin can compare tae the muckle cleuch atween oor parental richts an thae o ma pal in the US wha wis pregnant at the same time. She leads a department fir a guid university. It’s a carin environment – the sort o place whit pits oan a Graduate Student Bagel Hour. Her maternity leave? Zilch. She’d tae cobble thegither sick deys an vacation deys so she cuid be aff fir a few weeks wi her wee yin. An me? A’m freelaunce – an een warse sítuation ye wuid hink. But A hid the richt tae nine month o up tae £140 a week frae the government.

Noo, comparin oorsels wi the ainly developed kintra in the warld wioot a naitional policy tae gie parents time aff is mibbes a wey tae feel richt smug, but it’s no a wey tae mak forrit. Sweden gies 480 deys o peyed parental leave. Ma favourite pairt is that ilka parent his 90 deys o that that ainly they can tak. In practice, it means that faithers (or second parents in single-sex relationships) his at least three month full-time wi the babby. That can be as main carer, or at the same time as the mither/first parent. The guid o sic policies tae faimily bondin an mental health is as plain as parritch. An parental mental health in the UK is no great the noo. Research in 2015 frae the charity Embrace UK fund that awmaist a quarter o wímen wha deed in the year aifter pregnancy deed o mental-health relatit causes. This year Fathers Network Scotland published research that statit that three-fifths o new faithers say their mental health his suffered sin the birth o their bairn. As fir the weans? Are we wantin tae growe hailsome, attached, loved, supportit bairns in Scotland? A hink we are. Bairns not bombs, aifter aw.