Once mom finds out her due date, she starts doing a lot of panning for her baby and herself. She doesn’t start planning to go early, she most likely believes she’ll endure the whole 40 plus weeks of pregnancy. Unless she’s having health problems or already had a preemie, mom probably thinks she’s on track for a regular pregnancy.
Unfortunately, not all babies are born near their due date, statistics show that only 5% of babies will actually be born on their due date. In fact, it’s staggering how many are born several weeks, and even months prior to it. There are several reasons why a premature delivery can occur. mom may suffer from preeclampsia, placenta abruption may have occurred, or mama’s cervix may not be sufficient, for example.
While no mom wants her baby to be born prematurely, it is something that all pregnant women should be aware of. Given the fact that, in 2015, 1 out of 10 babies were born prematurely (prior to 37 weeks gestation,) premature delivery is not uncommon. And it never hurts to be prepared for the unexpected with pregnancy!
Giving birth to a premature baby can really turn a mother’s world upside down. Between the worry, the stress, the guilt and the constant trips to the NICU (and more,) there are so many things that moms of preemies go through. After all, this isn’t something she’s been planning for since she peed on the stick. Here’s a more detailed look at some of experiences preemie mamas experience.
13 Mom May Go Into A Depression
Most mothers of premature babies will experience some form of stress, anxiety, worry and lack of sleep. But many will overcome those things for the sake of their baby. However there are other moms who can’t overcome and stress, worry, anxiety and the lack of sleep overwhelm them causing them to experience a downward spiral into depression.
Depression is a prolonged period of time in a helpless, hopeless emotional state. And the longer your preemie stays in the hospital, the longer the depression can last. In fact, it can continue even after your baby is released because it’s a long road ahead for both you and baby. If you find yourself battling depression, contact your doctor.
Your doctor can prescribe medication but that’s not always the best thing especially if your preemie needs your undivided attention. Join a support group where you can talk about your feelings and experiences.
12 Mom Might Fear Handling Her Own Premature Baby
The fact that your baby is so tiny can be scary. It can be scary to look at and even scarier to hold. Babies are already fragile so premature babies are even more fragile and delicate. The best way to get over this fear is to visit the NICU frequently and watch how the nurses handle your baby. Yes, it’s their job and they handle thousands and many every day.
But what better way to learn then to learn from those who are experienced at it. And of course, the nurses will show you just how to handle your baby so you will get plenty of practice. Again, the nesting period where you can stay at the hospital with your baby in a separate, private room before they are discharged will help you greatly get used to handling your baby.
11 People Might Be Rude Or Inconsiderate With Mom
This will be a big pain in the butt when people make comments they either don’t realize they’re saying or just not thinking. Whatever the case, prepare to hear some hurtful and insensitive remarks about how your baby looks, how it will be difficult to take care of them (as if you don’t know that already), and how things could have been different (really?).
Some people might even get personal with you and want to know if you plan on having more kids (as if you’re incapable of producing healthy children), or at least you can get some rest at night with him or her being in NICU (only if they were in your shoes).
Some may say things that prove they have no clue like “She needs to be exposed to germs to build up immunity” or “She’s how old? My child is the same age and twice her size.” These comments definitely don’t help your stress levels and can cause you to worry even more.
10 An Insane Amount Of Stress
This is probably an overstatement. There are few things that are stressful than giving birth to a premature baby that needs to stay in the hospital for a certain length of time needing constant medical attention. In fact, pregnancy can cause stress levels to go up anyway without the added factor of a baby born underdeveloped.
Pregnancy in itself can cause emotional issues due to hormonal changes, relationship issues, financial issues, changes in the family dynamics, and physical challenges. So a premature baby just increases stress levels. In order to deal with this effectively, be sure to take some time out for yourself.
I know your life is revolving around your baby right now but you still have to take care of you. Avoid guilt trips. Your baby’s health will improve, so look forward not backward. Share with your spouse or family member or friend the responsibility of taking care of your baby when they do come home.
9 She’ll Have Many Sleepless Nights
As if you needed any less sleep, having a premature baby will definitely have you wondering how you can manage on a few hours of sleep. There’s the emotional toll. Many times we don’t realize adrenalin will keep us from sleeping or getting enough sleep. Your anxiety and stress levels, which are probably up, since your baby and her or his health stays on your mind constantly.
Your mind also can’t rest with thoughts that plague you. Then there’s the physical toll. Constantly visiting the hospital, spending hours watching your baby, and learning how to take care of them can wear a body down. There are natural supplements, medicine, and over the counter medicine that can help you sleep.
Try a good exercise routine, this will help you sleep better. Read a book to help your mind focus on something else which can help you fall asleep. Listen to relaxing music too to lower anxiety levels and help you sleep.
8 Intense Worry For The Baby
This probably increases your stress and anxiety levels and keeps you from getting enough sleep. Worrying is never good and it only creates negative consequences. The one thing we need to remember about worrying is that it never solved any problem. Worrying about a situation never helped anybody do anything.
And if we can’t do anything about it, then why worry about. The problem is that worry is one of the most common things we as human beings do. We worry about things we can’t control or do anything about. And one thing you can’t do anything about is the fact that your baby is a preemie.
What you can do is stop worrying so your anxiety and stress levels decrease which makes you think clearer and sleep better so you can help your baby grow and develop into a healthy human being. Worry can take a toll on us emotionally and physically, and what good is that for your baby.
7 She’ll Be On A None Stop Guilt Trip
Most mothers of premature babies will no doubt have thoughts of guilt. It’s a normal reaction for human beings to have when something goes wrong that we feel we were responsible for handling.
Unless something you did was the direct cause of your baby being premature like drinking alcohol, smoking, taking drugs or engaging in some other lifestyle that was harmful to your unborn baby, then ignore the guilty thoughts. They are destructive. They can’t help you or your baby.
In fact, if left unchecked those thoughts can result in your baby and yourself not getting the proper care necessary. You may withdraw from your baby and feel disconnected from him or her which is not good at all for a preemie. Because of their delicate state they need extra loving care and a closer bond with you.
6 Mom’s Weight Will Change
Some people gain weight when troubles come. They get nervous. They stress and become anxious. They lose sleep and all of these things cause them to gain excess weight. Gaining too much weight and being overweight is not good and it’s not good for your baby. You need to be healthy enough to take care of your preemie once they come home.
Taking care of them will require a great deal of physical effort on your part and you need to be physically fit to meet the challenge. Others tend to lose weight because they can’t eat due to their stressful conditions. Just like being overweight, being underweight is just as bad.
It can cause your immune system to suffer, making you susceptible to colds and viruses which is not good for your preemie baby whose immune system is weak. Being underweight can also make you tire out easily and not have the energy or strength you need.
5 Mom May Feel Completely Inadequate
Parents of preemies have an overwhelming sense of inadequacy. It can be a heavy load to shoulder when it comes to taking care of a preemie. Just watching the doctors and specialists care for your baby can make one feel like they will never be able to do all these things by themselves.
Preemies often need special feeding equipment, special care, special clothes and special medical equipment. More than likely you’ll need to learn CPR. It can be a full load for any person to handle. But the best thing to do is to prepare yourself properly. If you know your baby will be born prematurely, it’s important to prepare before he or she arrives.
If it’s not known ahead of time, you still have time to prepare since your baby will have to stay in the hospital for a period of time. During that time prepare yourself by taking advantage of the nesting period the hospitals offer.
4 Mom Might Be Afraid To Leave Baby With Others
This is a reasonable feeling to have but you need to have a backup trusted family or friend when you need to get away or need to take care of business. The best babysitter is probably someone who has had a premature baby before or someone that has visited the hospital with you, listened to the doctors and nurses and definitely someone who knows CPR.
Whoever you leave your preemie with needs to know all there is to know about watching and taking care of your little one. The older your preemie gets it’s still important that whoever is watching them understands their needs and limits. Many premature babies may have speech impediments or difficulties so it can be hard for them to express themselves.
3 Mom Might Not Want Others To Hold Her Baby
Not only are many parents fearful of handling their preemie, they may not want others handling their little one either. This is a valid concern to have because when you bring a preemie home visitations from outsiders – friends and family – need to be limited or avoided altogether.
The main reason is that preemies are susceptible to catching various illnesses and germs due to their weakened immune system. Germs that come in from outsiders can cause serious illness to your little one. That’s why it’s important that you change clothes or make sure sanitation procedures are in effect.
If family or friends come over, make sure you have them put on protective covering and surgical gloves when handling your baby. Also, make sure no one is sick, getting over a cold or flu or may even have the virus in their system. Better yet, make sure your preemie has gotten better before outsiders pick them up.
2 Mom Will Be Afraid Of Her Baby Getting Sick
Since preemies have a high chance of getting sick from various illnesses and sickness, parents of preemies are often paranoid that their little one is going to get sick. A simple cough, breathing issues, sneezing or a low-grade fever can cause a parent to fear the worst. But remember, your doctor will let you know what signs to look for if you feel your baby has taken a turn for the worse.
If you think your baby is coming down with something, always contact your doctor first. They will ask a few questions, and if they feel it’s necessary will have you bring your baby in. Of course, you know your baby better than anybody else so if you believe their health is suffering, go ahead and take him or her to the doctor immediately.
1 Mom Will Worry About Hers And Her Baby’s Health And Growth
Uninformed people may tell you the likelihood of having a healthy child diminishes when you have a premature child. That’s simply not true. A baby born premature can happen for reasons unknown or for reasons exclusive to that pregnancy. Situations will be different when you have another child.
Your body may react differently. Many parents have multiple children and only one was premature. And even if you have another premature baby doesn’t mean anything other than you had another premature baby.
Many preemie moms constantly worry that their babies just won’t ever grow to be healthy. But don’t give into these thoughts. Most premature babies grow to become healthy children and adults. In fact, it’s hard to notice most that many premature babies were ever, well, premature, once they are a few years old.
Yes, they may have had a slow start and it may take a little longer, but have patience, because your baby will more than likely grow to be a healthy and happy child. Make sure you’re following the doctor’s advice, providing the proper care and attention, and taking care of yourself so you tend to the needs of your little one.
Before you know it, that little preemie that struggled to live will soon become a healthy boy or girl with little or no permanent remaining issues.