You can hear the doctors working, the tireless efforts of the men and women who worked to bring your baby into this world.
It seems all too real, what you hear, what you can see. You look down at your new child, and spin around to make sure this is really happening, taking in the operating theatre, and yet something is amiss.
This all happened years ago, and yet here you are, just like it’s happening today.
You’re not going crazy: you’re experiencing a virtual reality memory.
Not unlike someone capturing a moment in video, a virtual reality memory is a new way of experiencing an event, or re-experiencing, so to speak. Instead of recording a video of the scene from one lens and from one viewpoint, VR cameras capture in 360 degrees, allowing you to not only see what happened, but also experience the mood and the setting as it happened.
When my wife gave birth to our first this month, I held a VR camera every step of the way, ensuring that my daughter’s delivery into the world would be captured, not just so we could see it later in life, but so that we could experience that very moment later on. When we were older, when she went off to college, when we needed to re-experience that feeling of unrelenting absolute heart-melting joy that we were jabbed with that day, it would be waiting inside a VR headset.
Throughout the pregnancy, midwives had recommended we capture the first moments of our child, the time when her brain switched on and her eyes flicked on and off, as she took in the outside world for the very first time, and we held her skin-to-skin and fell in love. We were told that most people let this moment pass, that these very moments were lost by parents hoping to get the first pictures to share with their loved ones, and that these were the memories worth hanging onto. That it would only happen once, and it should be experienced.
By capturing them in a virtual reality memory, and by being able to re-experience them later on – wearing a VR headset and immersing ourselves wholly and totally – we could relive that moment as it happened.
Whilst I hope my wife and I never develop dementia or any other debilitating memory condition, I know that if we do, we can always hold on with a VR memory like this, going beyond mere words and imagery, and re-experiencing the first moments once more, letting history overtake us.
Read Leigh’s story in Pickr here.