0-1 YEAR OLD

How do you man­age the guilt that your baby was born pre­ma­turely? You shouldn’t even think that it’s your fault, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON. Learn how you can over­come it in­stead.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

Your baby was born pre­ma­turely and you think it’s your fault. But this is why you should stop blam­ing your­self.

Even though your pre­ma­ture baby is now do­ing well, you still feel very guilty for his “early ar­rival”. It pains you when­ever you re­mem­ber those difcult and stress­ful days in the hos­pi­tal’s neona­tal in­ten­sive care unit when he al­most didn’t make it.

To ease the guilt, you’ve been giv­ing him noth­ing but the best, such as feed­ing him or­ganic food, buy­ing him the most ex­pen­sive toys and giv­ing him your un­di­vided at­ten­tion ev­ery minute of the day.

But you don’t have to feel this way. Here are 10 sug­ges­tions to help you to get over it:

Stop blam­ing your­self

In al­most half of all pre­ma­ture births, the cause is un­known. So un­less you were reck­less with your health and care dur­ing the preg­nancy, you re­ally shouldn’t blame your­self.

Lis­ten to the doc­tors

They have ex­plained many times that your pre­emie’s early ar­rival was not your fault and be­yond your con­trol. In­stead of re­ject­ing their pro­fes­sional med­i­cal com­ments, ac­cept that you didn’t do any­thing wrong dur­ing the preg­nancy.

Talk to other par­ents

Chances are, other mums and dads of pre­emies get locked into a guilt-syn­drome, too – you’re not the only par­ent to feel this way. You’ll nd it re­as­sur­ing to learn that they even­tu­ally over­came this in­tense form of self-blame.

En­joy your in­ter­ac­tion with Baby

Rather than con­cen­trat­ing on your faults (real or imag­ined), just re­lax and en­joy your lit­tle one’s com­pany. He loves you, he thinks you are the best mum ever, and he would be very an­noyed if he knew you felt guilty about the way you are bring­ing him up.

Recog­nise your strengths

For in­stance, you’re good at get­ting him to nish his feed, or you can soothe him when he is up­set. Give your­self a pat on the back for all the things you get right with your lit­tle one.

De­light in your baby’s progress

One of the best an­ti­dotes to any form of par­ent guilt is aware­ness of the won­der­ful progress he makes. For in­stance, he bab­bles more to­day than last week, or his crawl­ing is stronger than pre­vi­ously. This is ir­refutable ev­i­dence that you are get­ting it right.

Share your feel­ings

Ex­plain to your hus­band that you can’t help blam­ing your­self for your baby’s pre­ma­ture birth. Talk­ing about your con­cerns, doubts and anx­i­eties will ease the in­ner tur­moil you are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing right now.

His sup­port will help.

Be re­al­is­tic about your­self

It’s only nat­u­ral that you have self-doubts. Ev­ery par­ent feels like that some­times; some more of­ten than oth­ers. Avoid the easy mis­take of imag­in­ing ev­ery­thing that goes wrong with your baby is al­ways your fault.

Look for­ward, not back

Think pos­i­tively about the won­der­ful fu­ture that lies ahead for your child. Take de­light in his new achieve­ments that emerge ev­ery day, and imag­ine what he’ll be like in a week, in a month and in a year. He has so much po­ten­tial, and so many terric ex­pe­ri­ences in front of him.

Talk to your doc­tor

Will your sec­ond child be born pre­ma­turely, as well? Your rst child­birth may have rocked your condence and en­thu­si­asm about ex­pand­ing your fam­ily, for fear the same could hap­pen the next time. Don’t keep th­ese fears locked in­side. Dis­cuss this with your gy­nae­col­o­gist and fol­low her ad­vice.

Stop blam­ing your­self for his pre­ma­ture birth. Ac­cept that you didn’t do any­thing wrong dur­ing the preg­nancy.

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