Meet Michelle, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 22 weeks
Days spent in the NICU: 9
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: Preeclampsia, IVF, miscarriage, loss, micro-preemie delivery
As the sister of a preemie and mother who has experienced infertility, IVF, miscarriage, pre-eclampsia and premature birth, I know the importance of needing a sounding board. It truly does take a village. I was so blessed to be surrounded by my family and my husband’s family and our friends who listened, who helped, who did whatever they could. I want to be that support to another parent who experiences the loss of their preemie.
Throughout your journey, I hope every parent remembers these three things:
- None of this is your fault. This should be your mantra. You will spend more time than you know questioning every single decision you made. Repeat it to yourself that it is not your fault. This loss defies all reason and logic and hurts in a way that you could never imagine. You will want an answer and may never get one.
- Be kind to yourself. The days that you expect the loss to hurt the most aren’t usually the toughest days. It’s the days where something out of the blue blindsides you and you’re not sure how to handle it. Protect yourself and know that it’s okay to decline invitations or to say to people that you can’t talk right now. The people who love and care for you will understand.
- Don’t be afraid to say your child’s name or talk about your feelings. You will find people who are very uncomfortable and unsure of what to say. This is a topic no one wants to think about, but they will adjust and you will benefit from talking through it. And remember, you are not alone.
Losing a Premature Baby
Having to say goodbye to a preemie far too soon is a tragedy that no parent should ever have to face, but sadly loss is a part of the prematurity journey, too. Nothing can ever ease the pain of losing a child but even so, many organizations, websites, and groups exist to help moms and dads cope.