I wrote this a while back when my book just came out, but thought today was a perfect day to share it again.
10 Lessons from Having a Preemie (Hatherleigh Press, 2012)
1.) You didn’t do anything wrong. It is completely normal to feel guilty, ashamed and terribly afraid after giving birth to a preemie, but It Is Not Your Fault. You might never know Why your baby arrived early and sometimes you have to let go of the Why in order to move forward.
2.) Not everyone is a “baby person” and nurturing is not automatic for every mother, even mothers of full term babies. It’s ok if you feel this way; many women do, but don’t dare speak their feelings out loud.
3.) Speak your truth. Don’t let your fears and anxiety breed in the dark. Bringing your deep felt emotions to light keeps them from growing and festering inside you.
4.) Motherhood can be lonely, even for mothers of full-term babies. Ask for help. When others offer help, accept it. By receiving with openness and grace, you are in fact giving in return. To show your vulnerability is to be at your greatest strength.
5.) Create a vision of your baby in the future and hold on to that vision. Write a list of all your “some days” – walking on the beach, eating ice cream cones on a hot summer day, flying a kite, lying in the grass looking for shapes in the clouds…
6.) Don’t believe everything the doctors tell you!!! Create your own expectations for your child and don’t allow your child’s potential to be limited by anyone else. Use your voice. Speak up for yourself and your baby. You are your baby’s voice.
7.) Cover your baby’s isolet with a dark blanket. If your NICU is too bright or too noisy, speak up. Your baby will grow and heal best in a dark womb-like environment. Post-NICU, explore alternative therapies to compliment traditional medical treatments, ie Reiki, energy healing, cranial sacral therapy, Brain Gym
8.) If you can’t shake your deep anxiety, it’s highly likely you’re suffering from PTSD. Posttraumatic Stress is very common among preemie parents. (Resources to help – EMDR, Support groups, Peer to Peer support through Hand to Hold, therapy, writing)
9.) Take care of YOU. Like the oxygen mask on an airplane, you have to breathe first before putting the mask on your child. It’s ok to take time for yourself and let someone else care for your baby.
10.) Choose love over fear. It’s the hardest thing in the world to love when you’re so afraid you might lose, but our babies came here to be loved; to love and be loved. And remember, no matter how bad things get, no matter how lonely you feel, You Are Not Alone. Someone has walked this path before you and someday you’ll be on the other side sharing your story.