On the eve of the end of November, prematurity awareness month, this is what it means to me

It means highlighting the statistics of premature birth, 15 millions babies worldwide born too soon. That’s 1 in 10.

It means highlighting the political issues, when your baby is born premature, it means your maternity/paternity leave starts straight away. My first 4 months of mat leave was spent staring at my baby in an incubator willing him to survive. I celebrated World Prematurity Day by writing to my MP asking for his support on the Prematurity Bill to extend leave for parents whose babies are in NICU.

It means celebrating the babies who like my own, absolutely defied the odds on survival to be here and to be thriving.

It is also for celebrating those who didn’t make it. Those babies and mothers who don’t survive premature birth, I know how close we were to that knife edge and it breaks my heart to hear of their stories but they need to be celebrated too.

It is to be thankful that we are where we are because of the miracle of modern medicine and the NHS. They are all heroes in my eyes. I wouldn’t be where I am with my beautiful son without the NHS and all the unsung heroes.

It is about sharing your stories. Whether positive or negative, beyond each picture of a baby in an incubator is a story about how that baby fought the odds. I was very upset and at odds when I first had Carter, it took me ages to get any kind of confidence back and I’m still trying to get back to my ‘normal’ self whatever that is and hated to be around people or having to talk to people, even my family and friends. But now, I want to shout his story from the rooftops, I want to give others who are in my position in hospital knowing its going to happen that there is hope, I clung to similar stories myself when Carter was ill. You need to know theirs hope. Always have hope in these tiny miracles.

It is to feel pride, there are many memes around having a premature baby such as ‘I met my superhero’ or ‘I was chosen to be the parent of a miracle baby’ etc etc and they can seem cheesy or whatever but they are true. Premature birth is one of the most horrific things you can go through but when I look at my now 2 year old, with his scars and wounds of being born too soon, I see pride, he beat this, he beat the odds, he really is a miracle baby and for that, I cannot ever feel prouder as a mother.

 

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