Through out our preemie journey, there are comments that people regularly say that make me cringe. Here is my list of the remarks followed by the reasoning behind my displeasure.
1) Do you know how lucky you were?
Immediately after Charlie’s birth, I resented people making me say how lucky we were. At the time, I felt anything but lucky. If I was lucky, I would have carried my baby to term. If I was lucky, I would not have had to wait two days to see my baby and two weeks to hold her. For quite a while, I felt like I had lost. I certainly did not feel lucky.
Even now, I continue to hear the remark from people. I know we were lucky. I saw the people who were not. I am supposed to feel lucky all of the time. The truth is, on some days, I don’t. Those are the days that Charlie will not eat a drop, when another medical issue is discovered, or the days that I am exhausted from the special needs schedule combined with the emotional ups and downs. On the days I feel less than lucky, I feel guilty for not reveling in my good fortune. I know how many parents would love to have my worst day. The guilt is compounded on those days when someone reminds me that I should feel lucky.
2)What if something is wrong with her long term?
Yes, people actually ask this. I heard it more while Charlie was in the NICU and less now. I am not sure what I am supposed to say when people ask this. I am tempted to say, “Well, then we will give her back.”
3)Everything will be okay when she catches up.
Recently, it has become second nature for me to respond that everything IS okay now.
4)Preemies catch up by two.
I left the NICU believing this myth myself. I have come to realize otherwise. Just like every baby is different, every preemie is different. Charlie is a former micro preemie that will be struggling with the ramifications of her extremely premature birth past the age of two. People who remind me that other preemies catch up by two are not helpful in the least. On bad days, it feels like a kick in the gut.
5)Everything happens for a reason.
There was no reason for this. I grow tired of people trying to rationalize it. It is similar to trying to rationalize being dealt a bad hand. Sometimes, it just happens.
Although, I do believe that some good can come from all this. I am not sure what that is yet. However, whatever good does come from it is not the reason that it happened.
6)What does not kill you makes you stronger.
It did kill the person that I was. It killed many of the relationships that I had. It killed the life that we were living. This experience may not have physically killed me but I am not the person that I was. Besides, I was strong before this. I did not need a tragedy for reinforcement.
I know people generally do not mean ill will when they say these things. Before Charlie’s early arrival, I could not have imagined the horror of the NICU. I suppose people who say these things are merely clueless.
I’m curious to hear from the other preemie moms. What comments make you cringe?