I normally consider myself a fairly positive person. However, when my son was born at 28 weeks gestation, it was impossible for me to feel anything other than grief and fear. My baby Arthur spent almost three months in hospital and it was, without a doubt, the most difficult time of my life.
Fast forward a year and I am blessed to have a healthy one-year-old son. At this very moment, I can hear his shrieks of laughter from the next room, as he plays with his daddy. I feel the warmth of joy and contentment filling my body. Perhaps now, it is a good time to meditate on the positives of having a premature baby (perhaps silver linings, at least).
1. Celebrate the tiny milestones
When you have a preemie, you appreciate and celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. While most parents celebrate baby’s first steps or first words, preemie parents appreciate every tiny indication of growth and progress.
We celebrated when Arthur was able to breathe by himself, without supplemental oxygen or assistance from a ventilator or cpap. We cheered as he had his feeding tube removed. I have kept the gold star that we stuck on his incubator when he doubled his birth weight and reached two kilos. And I still remember the wonderful feeling when he was finally big enough to fit into baby clothes (even if they were size 000000).
When is it all OK to start exercising and having sex after child birth? We ask an expert on our pregnancy podcast. Post continues.
2. Skip the Baby Comparison
Don’t we all love the (not so subtle) baby bragging and one-upmanship that sometimes goes on between mums? My little Jimmy was rolling at three weeks, while Susan was self settling by two months, while my Patrick was feeding himself, talking, walking, mastering quantum physics by four months (You get the general picture).
Having a preemie makes it easy to bypass the comparison/competition and puts things into perspective. My 28-weeker is alive, healthy and happy! I know that he will reach his developmental milestones at his own pace, when he is good and ready.
3. Warrior baby
If you have had a preemie then you know you have been blessed with a very special baby. Preemies are warrior babies that have had to fight to survive. Their tiny little hands and feet are deceptive in hiding their true strength and determination.
Moving forward in life, when Arthur is faced with challenges, I know that he possess the strength and reliance to overcome anything that he sets his mind too. Even when the odds are stacked against him.