Recently we’ve had a number of “awkward moments” with our daughter Littlebit and the assumptions people make about premature babies.
When Markus asked me to guest post over here for him I thought this would be the prime place to have a rant about what not to say to the parent of a toddler who was born prematurely. All of the thoughts listed below have actually been said to me in the last 6 months, yes really!?
I wrote a similar post over on my own blog, which you can find here: http://www.mummypinkwellies.com/2011/08/what-not-to-sa…preemie-parent
this was written when Littlebit was just shy of 1 year old and we’ve had some absolute corkers since. So here goes. Here’s what not to say to the parent of a child who was born prematurely:
1. I know someone who was born 10 weeks early and he’s got all sorts of problems. Which problems do you think she’ll have?
Don’t assume that my child has problems, and even if she does is it really any of your business?
2. So, does she have cerebral palsy?
Take a look at her, what do you think?
3. Oh, her eyes do look really bad. She’ll get teased in school because of that. What a shame!
Yes, yes it’s a shame she has a bit of a squint but you know she’s alive and well. I’ll take a squint any day!
4. Well, at least you got to bring your baby home. Some people aren’t that lucky.
Do you seriously think I don’t know that? Really?
5. I know she was born early and you were really quite poorly but I do think you’re being a bit selfish not giving her a brother or sister.
6. But she seems so clever and ahead of her peers. How is that possible when she should be so behind?
I don’t know, but shouldn’t we all just be proud of her achievements rather than dwell on what might have been?
7. When will you know if she has learning difficulties like most preemies?
Well, she’s showing no signs of it yet so I dunno. But so what if she has? Again is it really any of your business?
8. I know a boy who was born 15 weeks early and he’s huge now. He plays Rugby for the Borough. She’ll be fine.
Brilliant, good for him. Stop generalising though.
9. It must be awful having a premature baby?
Well yes, of course it was awful at the start. But actually no, we’ve learned so much through this experience. Met some amazing people who we wouldn’t otherwise have met. It’s not all rainclouds and storms actually. There are some amazing rainbows we have seen as well.
10. Does that mean she won’t be able to have children?
11. But she’s so normal looking?
And I’ve saved the best for last…
12. Does that mean she’ll die prematurely as well?
Do you know when you’re going to die. No! I can’t predict her death either but no, being born early doesn’t mean she’s fated to an early death too!
What senseless things have you heard said about children who were born prematurely?
This is my girl now:
So, I’m Katherine, known as K to my friends and online as pinkwellies79 or Mummypinkwellies.
My daughter, known online as Littlebit was born 10 weeks prematurely back in September 2010 and weighed just 2lb 4.5oz at birth. A lot of my blog is about her. She is my life!
I blog about:
* bringing up a 30 week preemie turned feisty toddler
* life in a small market town
* campaign and fundraising work for Bliss – for babies born too soon, too small, too sick and Tommy’s – researching problems in pregnancy amongst other charities close to my heart
* the things that I love
* baking and cooking
amongst other stuff and probably a fair bit of fluff
You can find my blog at http://www.mummypinkwellies.com