Thursday, August 14, 2008

What a preemie mom is NOT...

Here are three more things I wish more people knew. Please know that I absolutely realize that sometimes these stereotypes DO apply to the mothers of premature babies... but it is so essential that people know that oftentimes, they do not. I have met (in person or cyberspace) so many amazing, devoted, strong, committed, healthy moms of preemies babies.

And so, in no particular order, here are three things that preemie moms are NOT (necessarily...)-

1. Young, uneducated, and without proper prenatal care-- I can tell you that I found out about my pregnancy early on, was careful with my diet and exercise, attended every prenatal appointment... I'm also a college graduate who had previously carried a baby full-term. Didn't stop me from going into labor at 23 weeks 4 days...

2. Addicted to drugs +/or alcohol-- Not only is it true that most preemie moms are NOT addicts, but some addicts manage to have full-term babies. There is no reason to assume that a premature baby is the by-product of substance abuse.

3. Medically "flawed" or biologically destined to have trouble carrying children full-term. Sometimes it's just a mystery. Sometimes they can't even begin to guess why it happened. Sometimes it just... happens. Other times, the doctors figure out and are able to prevent future premature deliveries armed with that knowlege.

I think we all need to realize that there are so many "assumptions" that we all make about so many situations. I am as guilty of this as the next person. But the area in which I feel the most comfortable attempting to dispel the myths is regarding prematurity. I would love to hear from the rest of you-
What are three things you wish people knew/ three myths you'd like to dispel?


mommaof4wife2r said...

i just want to say 'amen'. i have the same issue with my preemie...get irritated when the assumption that good prenatal care means full term babies. certainly not true for me.

and, for what it's worth, i have 2 adopted children, one through foster care and one privately adopted. it is not true that children are 'not wanted'...ok, i'm off my soap box!

slbriggs said...

This is great - thank you! I have a daughter who is a micro as well, and in comment to your "I AM NOT A DRUG MOM" they had to take mine to save my life from HELLP Syndrome. I completely understand where you are coming from! :) In lew of that, here are three of my own.

1- A preemie mom is NOT (necessarily) neglecting herself by staying at the hospital.

While my baby is in the hospital, I do not want to leave her side any more than you would want to leave yours. Just because she is in there longer, or even more frequently, does not mean you should tell me that I am being bad for spending the majority of my time there. I am NOT neglecting myself by being there, and please don't tell me that I am. Would you rather I neglect my baby of the love and individual care she needs? Yes the nurses and doctors are great, but they cannot be with my individual child the whole time, and no one knows her the same way I do. Nurses and doctors rely on me to tell them she is not acting like herself - let me help them know her. On top of that, consider having your child taken away from you at birth and put in a place where you can't take care of her other than by being there and showing her your love. Many of us are in that situation for far too long, and we NEED to be there.

2- Preemie moms are NOT (necessarily) ungrateful. We as a general group love our babies and are of the opinion that they are our miracles. We are also grateful not only for our babies but the people and the technology that keep them alive. Many people accuse us of not being grateful when they hear us worrying out loud, wondering day to day if our baby will not only live or die, but also worry about the quality of life they will have. Whatever disability they may come across, we will still love them and care for them, just as you would your own.

3- A preemie mom is NOT (necessarily) selfish if they choose not to have another (even second) pregnancy, even if they adopt. Each of us has a reason that our child came early, even though some are unexplained, such as early labor. Others of us had our child come early because our own life was threatened. Some of us would still have loved to give our child the very longest time "cooking" as possible, even if it threatened our lives. Many doctors will advise preemie moms of this sort of the threat it would pose on our lives to even consider a second pregnancy. Some doctors even venture to tell you not to have another one at all. We may have made the decision that not only are we protecting our lives, but we are also trying to prevent our future children from having to go through the pain and the journey of fighting every day for their life.

There's my spill, now I've vented... Thanks for looking at it!


JessieLeigh said...

mommaof4wife2r-- How blessed ALL of your children are to be SO very wanted. Thank you so much for sharing.

Liz-- Thank you so much for adding three more wonderful examples of what a preemie mom is NOT... the list could go on and on, couldn't it? : )

carron said...

I'm also an educated 30 something who previously carried my gorgeous eldest daughter not only to term but 3 weeks beyond. I am drug free and didnt drink the entire time (we knew from about 4 wks as we had planned this one). I wish i knew a cause because sometimes I wish I could blame something, but in this case it is a mystery