There are lots of ways in which preemie parents differ from "full-term" parents. Our journey is just so vastly different... the fact that we know we have months before we might possibly bring our babies home is only part of it. Nonetheless, there are lots of things we have in common too! Here are three of them:
- We are proud of our newborn babies. You'd be surprised how shocking this seems to be to some people. Sadly enough, we parents of very early babies sometimes receive sympathy cards instead of congratulations cards. People focus on the obvious disappointment in the earliness of the birth and forget about the joy of having a baby. But know this- we are proud. And joyful.
- We are exhausted. Full-term parents lose a ton of sleep as they get up multiple times throughout the night caring for their newborns. We preemie parents lose sleep as we get up to pump, call the NICU, or sit by our struggling babies' bedsides. We, too, are super tired, even though there is not yet a baby in our bedroom or home nursery...
- We think our babies are beautiful... even if they aren't. I'm sorry, but it's the simple truth. Some babies are cuter (or prettier or more even-featured or whatever) than others. Some preemie babies can be compared to wrinkly little old men. Still. When you look into the face of your precious newborn child, the love clouds anything else and that baby is gorgeous.
There are innumerable other things we all have in common... there is more that connects us than divides us, to be sure.
If you're a preemie parent, what do you wish full-term parents knew you shared with them?
And for all of you... what three things can you teach me this week? I'm so eager to read what you share! It can be on any topic at all. If you have three related tid-bits to share, I want to hear about it!