Exercise has always been a big part of my life. I enjoyed it throughout school and have always had active, physical jobs. I have loved classes such as Pilates, step aerobics, Zumba and Hiit as well as running. I even lifted kettlebells and Bulgarian bags during my second pregnancy! Safely, of course, under the watch of an experienced fitness instructor. I wanted to be strong, fit and healthy in order to get the natural birth I so eagerly wanted after experiencing a traumatic emergency c-section with my first baby. And I was doing really well. My fitness levels were probably the best they had ever been, I was strong, I loved working out and it gave me focus.
World Prematurity Day is a global movement to raise awareness of premature birth and the sometimes devastating impact it can have on families. On 17 November, Bliss comes together with partners from around the world to talk about premature birth in their countries and to try and take action on behalf of the 15 million babies born early every year.
This year Bliss will be marking this day with their London Little Lights Walk but before I get into that I’d like to share my own story of prematurity with you and explain why this charity is so important…
I have held off writing this for a quite a while for a couple of reasons really. 1 I felt that I had covered quite a bit on prematurity and sometimes it really can sound like you are always being quite negative (without meaning to but until you’ve been in these shoes it can be difficult to understand where it is all coming from) and 2 because it is still painful to think about certain aspects and to reflect on how those moments made me feel.
I was recently contacted by a Mother asking me if I had written a post on how to help your child cope with having a sibling in NICU. I hadn’t even thought about this as a blog topic but also couldn’t believe I had overlooked it! Through the emotions, the tiredness, the back and forth to the hospital, I had constantly thought about our baby and writing about his journey yet the other superstar hasn’t had a mention, and he definitely deserves one.
Six months have somehow passed since our little ‘dinks’ arrived prematurely into our world and I cannot believe it. At times it still feels as though it was only last week that I was back and forth to the hospital, having emotional breakdowns, longing for my baby to be able to come home, yet here we are months later, sitting at home with a very happy and healthy little boy who has come on leaps and bounds. Becoming a preemie parent has been an eye-opener and a very different journey to having a full-term baby and I know I am incredibly lucky that my boy is here safe and well…
When you become a preemie parent your entire newborn journey alters. You are thrown into a world that is scary, upsetting, unnerving and completely unpredictable. You lose all those firsts that should experience and you return home without your baby.
Even after your baby does come home, times can be tough and not all stories are straightforward. Whatever the situation is, those parents require support both emotional and physical. They need people to understand what they are going through and, most importantly, they need these people to be saying and asking the right things. Unfortunately, there are a lot of (ahem)
One thing I always knew I wanted to do as a Mother was to be able to breastfeed my babies. I managed easily with my firstborn and he fed from me for 9 months– until he developed far too many teeth and learnt to bite! This time around, it was a no-brainer, breastfeed again and hopefully for longer. There were for 2 reasons for this, 1 because I loved the connection that breastfeeding brought me and my baby and 2 it’s free and so convenient.
What I didn’t envisage happening was