Somewhere along the preemie parenting journey, parents encounter the essay Welcome to Holland ( http://www.our-kids.org/Archives/Holland.html ) by Emily Perl Kingsley. In the beginning, I felt that it was a relatively accurate description of our preemie experience. Now that we have been at it for almost a year, I find that it only partially describes things.
For me, the journey started off as the essay describes it… as a planned visit to Italy. However, it differs almost immediately. When the plane landed, we did not find ourselves in Holland. We found ourselves in some uncharted land in between Holland and Italy.
As we got off the plane (more like forced off the plane), we were told that we must walk through this mysterious land. Few can tell us much or anything about this land. We have to wait and see what develops during our journey. The outcome is unknown. There are as many possibilities as the number of people who walk it.
There are those who are on a similar journey. Sometimes, they walk along with us for a while. We exchange the helpful bits and pieces that we were able to figure out. Eventually, our pace differs and we must part ways.
The terrain of this land can, at times, feel unforgiving. I, frequently, grow tired and start to drag. I get frustrated and occasionally, sad. If we are lucky, we find ourselves enjoying a coast down a smooth hill for a stint. During the trek we regularly encounter amazing, awe inspiring, and wonderful people and sights.
Eventually, all of us on this journey end up somewhere. I hope one day to make it to Italy. If we end up in Holland, that will be all right too. I have heard from others that Holland is quite lovely.
I have to keep in mind that it is not the destination that is important. While it may be difficult (and sometimes seem impossible), I try to enjoy the journey. I know that I am fortunate to have been given the chance to embark on it.
Our experience has differed quite a bit from the essay. While we are not in Italy where we planned on being with most people, we are not quite in Holland either.