It’s a club that no one expects to be in. I was in the ‘that won’t happen to me’ camp myself. It’s a club that no one wants to be in, and one you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy, however you are in it. It is all a whirlwind and you don’t fully grasp what is going on around you to start with, some parents joke that this is parenthood in general. It’s not a club you want to be in but here you are, so let me welcome you to the premature baby club and assure you it isn’t a club with only one member.

It feels really lonely and isolating to start with. You may feel lost and confused or maybe just numb. You will firstly notice that the nurses are amazing. They are really attentive to your baby and ready to answer all your questions. These amazing people are friendly and offer comfort when you need it. The doctors are good too but not as readily available as the nurses.

Medical professional pushing an incubator through a hospital. Photography credit: Hush Naidoo
Medical professional pushing an incubator through a hospital.
Photography credit: Hush Naidoo

Within a week you will start seeing familiar faces. You will get to know the doctors, nurses and support staff. Soon you will also start to remember names too! You will see familiar faces of parents too. The ones that are new may appear to be a little lost, confused and even tearful. The ones that have been there for a few weeks become a little more hardened, they wear the familiar face of worry and concern but are likely to have a chat with you in the parents’ room.

You don’t leave the premature baby club when you are discharged.

Preemies may be discharged with health issues and no one will understand your worries and concerns the same as a fellow preemie parent. You will find preemie Facebook groups are really useful. Also look out for any groups that are specifically set up for your unit so you can keep in touch with parents that you got to know during your neonatal stay.

Don’t let this discourage you from going to playgroups if you can. The other parents may not fully understand what it’s like to have a preemie but if you choose to you can share your story to raise awareness. It’s good to get out when you can (if your baby is healthy enough to) and meet other parents. This will help with your mental health and being a mum won’t feel quite so lonely.

My little boy happy and playing at baby group
My little boy happy and playing at baby group

You may also find that you keep in touch and become friends with parents from the neonatal unit. They will be happy to hear from you and you will find that they know how you feel, what your concerns are and might even have some advice if they have found something that has worked with their preemie. Meet up with them if you can, you will feel good getting out and about and feeling normal.

The premature baby club is definitely not a club you expect or want to be in but know that when you are in it other preemie parents have got your back!

Did you see the last blog on helpful resources? In not click here to check it out.