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Preemie Mothers: Shed Off The Guilt

4 min read

It is very common that as mommies of premature babies we feel that it is our fault that the babies were born too soon.
Guilt of preemie mom
“I should not have worked long hours in office.”
“I should not have stayed home.”
“I should have eaten less.”
“I should have eaten more.”
“I should have exercised more.”
“I should have exercised less.”
“I did this. I caused this. I am to be blamed.”
On hindsight, we would feel that everything we did or did not do caused the baby to come out to this world before she was ready. Probably we know that rationally it wasn’t fully in our hands, but it is still easy to self-blame. It can be made worse if someone in close family makes snide remarks to this effect. But remember, your baby will thrive only if you do. So here are five ways you can shed off the guilt.

Shed Off The Guilt, Preemie Mothers, With These 5 Ways
    1. Understand the reason for premature delivery: There are many reasons for premature birth and majority of them do not involve anything you consciously did. It could be a problem with the shape of your uterus, your placenta or some abnormality in your cervix. Premature birth can also happen due to some chronic illness or infection. None of this is your fault. Talk to your gynecologist and understand from him/her what caused the premature delivery. Be also aware that often the cause is not known, or is too complex. There are many factors that might have contributed to the premature birth of your baby, and instead of mulling over them, focus on getting rid of the guilt
    2. Channel your energy to care for the new born: Sometimes the reason for the premature birth is related to your life style, directly or indirectly. You might have been underweight when you got pregnant, or overweight. You might have been too young (<18) or too old (>35). You might have a mentally stressful or physically strenuous job. But this does not mean that you are to be blamed. You did not knowingly get into this lifestyle to give birth to a preemie. We live in a different world. It might have affected you more than others, that’s all. So rather than stay in the past and wonder what you could have done differently, stay in the present and equip yourself to take care of the special needs of your premature baby. Channel all your time and energy in getting him up to speed. There are few helpful resources mentioned at the end of this article for your information
    3. Get help: If you are feeling very guilty and depressed, don’t shy away from talking about it and getting help. Your gynecologist, your child’s pediatrician and other therapists can all help you to get some perspective and shed the guilt. It is important to get help immediately as your emotional and physical stability is positively correlated to your child’s wellness. This may prevent you to have a stabilized relationship with other members of the family as well. You may be wrecking your nerves more often blowing off your lid or feeling despaired most of the times. Talk them out of your system, confide, take help. You can also share your feelings with your partner, parents or anyone else you are close to as talking about it is comforting

premature baby in NICU

  1. Give it time: Accept that you cannot shed the guilt off immediately. Or, even if it goes away, it might come back again, especially if/when your baby misses milestones set for full term babies. This is alright, as long as you know how to shake off it and not brood over it for days
  2. Stay positive: You are not a bad mother. In fact, you are an awesome mother. Your baby will soon thrive. You are smart enough to make best decisions for your child’s well-being. You are capable of taking care of every special need your child might have. You are in no way inferior to a mom of full-term baby. Write these down. Read it every time you feel low. Learn ways to stay positive. Even something as simple as a good night’s sleep and tasty and nutritious food will do wonders to your mood. Surround yourself with people who are positive and supportive. Block the words of people who are irrationally blaming you. You are an awesome mom. You are

Finally, as we mentioned before, you need to educate yourself on how to care for your preemie. Please read up on:

  1. 10 Questions Parents Of Every Premature Baby Ask- And Answers
  2. Feeding and Nutrition for a Premature Baby
  3. Breastfeeding A Premature Baby
  4. Taking Your Premature Baby Home
  5. Early Challenges and Care For Premature Babies
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