August 13, 2015. At Least.

I’m one of those annoyingly positive people. You’ve had a bad day?? Well there’s an entirely new day tomorrow, imagine how much awesome could be completed!!
Raining? Good day for movies.
Unfit? Your body loves those walks, no matter how far or fast you go!!

My husband will tell you, it’s painful sometimes, how positive I can be.

Understandably I lost some of this positivity recently. Not because I was being negative, but because I was forced into a reality that had all the positive sucked out of it.
We were being realistic, and this made a lot of people uncomfortable.

I know this is because they wanted to make it all better for us, but I think it was also because no matter how much we tried to explain our experience to people, there’s no way they can fully understand.
I write these stories, partly because it’s therapeutic for me to express it (not milk this time) but mostly in the hope that it will help other people to support and be supported when someone’s world falls to pieces.

Don’t try to be positive. Support by acknowledging the realistic. As hard as it is, stay far away from the words ‘at least’.

At least you got a natural birth and not a c-section.
The only positive in a premature birth situation is if you can stop the labour and keep those miracles inside. We wanted no birth, not natural birth.
And ‘natural’ for a premature birth is far from natural. Trust me.
Try, that must have been so terrifying, I’m so sorry that happened.

At least you got to 24 weeks. (Or 30…or 34..)
I think I’ve said this before, viability doesn’t mean much. There are countries in Europe that only resus after 26 weeks. There are babies born at 30 weeks that end up on a longer, harder road than some 24 weekers. There’s no surety, there’s no absolutes, there is just each individual baby, some the world is ready for, and some that it’s not.
Try, I’m so sorry for all those pregnant days you missed. Because that’s something that preemie mums long for, that horrible third trimester of heavy, hot, heartburn, that time when you nest, prepare, plan, for your baby. We would give anything to experience that ‘miserable’ time.

At least you’ve still got one.
I won’t go too much into this one, except to say that too many people think this is acceptable to say.
We get immeasurable amounts of strength and love and joy from the fact that Oliver is moving and breathing and growing. But it’s not from thinking that we have him instead of Charlie. It’s separate. When you have to say goodbye to your child, which no parent should ever have to do, nothing can make you feel better, nothing can lighten the lead heavy grief that is swallowing you whole.
Try, I don’t know what this is like, but I can hold your hand while you cry if you like.

At least you have plenty of milk.
Milk supply is something that all mums worry about, preemie or full term. It’s heartbreaking when your body doesn’t do what you want, and it won’t make enough to feed your baby. But it’s equally painful if your body is producing litres and litres of milk because it’s feeding your two gorgeous boys, and it doesn’t know there’s only one boy needing the milk now.
Try, here I’ve baked some oaty slice for you to eat when you’re up in the night expressing.

And finally.
At least you’ve got lots of support.
Do not get me wrong, we are so well supported, and there is no way we will ever thank the family and friends and strangers that have helped us enough. Truly, we are so indebted to you all.
But the hardest parts of this kind of journey are the emotions that destroy you every day. The grief, the helplessness, the guilt (all for another day…).
So instead of telling someone how well supported they are (they already know) try, who should I liaise with to mow your lawns?

Or even better, can I come and paint your newly plastered walls?

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Author: rfclews

I'm just another mum trying to figure all of this out, with the added bonus of getting to start extra early, and well and truly on the back foot!

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