Sunday, March 10, 2013

Proud Parent of a Preemie

Today is Parents of Preemies Day. I'm generally not one to become an activist about causes, be they political, religious, community-based or otherwise. But being a parent of a preemie has changed my life forever, and I can't not speak about it.

Once upon a time, I did not feel like I was cut out for motherhood. I did not believe that I possess enough patience, or gentleness, or selflessness to care for another person the way I believe a child should be cared for. Over time, my opinion on that changed. I was excited to try to have a baby, and devastated when I thought I couldn't, then elated when I found out I was going to, and terrified when I had only five weeks from two pink lines on a stick to ten pink fingers and ten pink toes waving at me from an incubator.

The thing is, it's not just my daughter who was born prematurely. I was born into motherhood prematurely. Peanut was born into fatherhood prematurely. Becoming a parent is a process that starts during - perhaps even before - pregnancy, and the weeks and months of pregnancy allow for parents to prepare for how their lives are about to change. I didn't have that. And that's been hard.

But although my little family is a premature one, it's perfect and I'm proud of it. Peanut is a great dad. He's gentle and infinitely patient with both me and Baby M. I'm a great mom. Turns out that I can put aside my own concerns for someone else. And Baby M, well. She's beat the odds and every time she smiles, she lights up our lives.

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