The emotional strain of having your baby before term can be enormous. Our experienced Mums and neonatal experts give their advice on how to cope.
Carmel Bartley, family support manager for Bliss says: Having a premature baby is very frightening for many parents. The idea of the perfect birth and seeing your baby and bonding immediately is taken away from you due to the circumstances that your baby needs to be cared for immediately. Many parents find this a very distressing time.
Mum 1: Straight after having my baby I felt this sense of loss that I was no longer pregnant when I was supposed to be and I can remember being on the post natal ward and one other mum who had a term baby looking at me and saying ‘well you don’t even look like you’ve had a baby’ and I felt like turning around and saying ‘well that’s because I wasn't supposed to have had a baby yet, it’s supposed to still be inside me’.
Carmel says: Missing the perfect is of course an emotional time for a lot of parents. You’ve thought, you’ve hoped, you’ve wished for this moment and sometimes you feel this might have been snatched away from you. However, in time, and talking to people, then you will find that your baby to be going home happy and healthy is the most important thing.
Mum 1: So when he was six months that was when I started to enjoy him more, when I realised he was going to be fine. He was gaining weight fine, he was meeting his developmental milestones, so I didn’t think there was going to be a problem. And I also realised at that point that he was growing really quickly and I was losing my baby. So, rather than miss out on the rest of his baby months I started to enjoy them.
Mum 2: So, Ernie was born exactly four weeks early, so exactly on 36 weeks when my waters broke. But as much as I didn’t want it to happen and I didn’t want to go into hospital, looking back I’m actually really glad it did they were great in hospital, there was no problems at all with him being premature and we were out the next day. They keep a close eye on him because he’s premature so it was a good experience looking back and the hospital was great.
Kate, Cow & Gate Midwife says: Luckily, down to medical science – and it’s come a long away – that a lot of babies do very well and are well cared for. The good thing is that the units today are really advanced to what they used to be, but on the other hand that can sometimes look a little bit scary when you see your baby in a neonatal unit. But the staff is usually really good and very used to it and will happily explain everything to you, so it’s not normally as scary as it looks.
Mum 2: I think the minute that you have them you realise that how you have them isn’t important as long as they’re safe and it’s a good labour.