We recently headed to the park as a family, and as Jason and Braeden ran around on the playground, I chatted with another mum.
This was already a big deal for me, as I usually tend to keep to myself. Jason is always on me to put myself out there and make friends, but in addition to being a bit socially awkward, I’m just not great at making small talk.
We both had three kids, and talked about how it’s almost impossible to give each kid the attention they deserve, and she asked me about the girls. She asked about their weights when they were born, and not being able to come up with a number off the top of my head, I told her they were two pounds each when they were born at 29 weeks.
“Oh! 29 weeks! I wish I had been pregnant for 29 weeks instead of 40!”
What. did. you. just. say.
Never, ever say that again. Never tell a preemie parent that you wish you didn’t go full term, that is like driving a knife deeply into their heart, and slowly twisting it in further.
How we preemie mamas wish we had gone full-term; waddled through the end of our pregnancy, setting up nurseries while rubbing our bellies, having people tell us how we look like we’re about to pop, feeling our baby or babies moving, wriggling, still very much a part of us.
Yes, the last bit of pregnancy seems long – lack of sleep, a giant belly that makes it hard to get out of bed, heartburn, and discomfort – but, believe me, none of that compares to seeing your baby in the NICU, watching a tiny baby, so tiny it seems impossible, struggling to breathe, to eat, sometimes even struggling to cry. Your tired body does not come close to our tired souls, tired hearts.
So, rub your belly and cherish every single day you have with them and never, ever say that again.
There is really not a lot of awareness about the risks and complications of premature birth. I know I could be a better ambassador for preemie families by sharing our experience and educating others, but with it all being so fresh, right now I just try to avoid those conversations when meeting someone new. I’m hoping time will heal some of the wounds so I can calmly respond when someone says, “you’re so lucky, you didn’t get huge!” Because, of course, I did get huge. NICU Cookie Addiction. (There’s even less awareness about that. 🙂