I reached out to Graham’s Foundation because I am always trying to find other Preemies who are now adults, like me. They asked if I’d be interested in telling the world more about my experiences and how being a Preemie has impacted my life.
I am 65 years old and was born 3 months premature in 1953. I was in an incubator for 3 months, which was common back then. I have spent some time contacting researchers and foundations involved with prematurely born children. My hope was to try and see what other preemies in my age group are like in terms of personality, strengths, and weaknesses.
I have never met another Preemie, and the researchers seem surprised that I made it this far! I have seen the video titled “Preemie Voices.” I see now that I was quite lucky! I have some minor health issues as I am nearsighted, had cataract surgery in my 40s, and am a little hard of hearing.
Unfortunately, I had a very tough time growing up which was more a function of having a narcissistic and alcoholic mother and a father who checked out emotionally early on. I”ll be the first to admit that I have been anxious from age 3 on. I wouldn’t go to school as a child and was terrified of everything.
A funny yet sad example was that I went trick-or-treating the day before Halloween at around age 10 because I was anxious I wouldn’t get candy. Being very creative and resourceful, I told people I was going into the hospital to have my tonsils out! And, then went back on Halloween in another costume – all by myself.
The one suggestion I would make to new parents of preemies is to not let your children suffer if they are not fitting in at the school they are in. My parents chose to ignore my issues and spent time sending me to many therapists in order to try and change me to be more normal like my sister. It’s still heartbreaking to know that I was given up on and labeled “different” at a young age. It still makes me feel very alone as I am the last one left in my family and there was nothing I could do to because their minds were made up…
From what I have learned about other Preemies that I have read about or seen on video is that we are very strong, resourceful group! I have a fierce determination and will almost never give up once I set my mind to something! I also work out 6 days a week to keep in shape and to treat my anxiety.
Laurel is a healthy and active 65 year old who weighed 2lbs 4 oz at birth.
She has contacted different researchers and yet no one seems to know of another preemie who is in their 60s like her. She’d love to connect with other adult preemies to see if there are similarities in their personalities!
Laurel’s next blog will focus on coping with the differences that can be a consequence of premature birth as a teenager and adult.
If she can answer any questions, feel free to contact her at Laurellipsick524@gmail.com or by text at 650-704-7682.