Being the mother of a preemie baby means your first moments of motherhood look different. When a preemie baby is born they are often immediately taken into the NICU where they receive intensive care. Those first moments between mother and baby are now monitored even more closely by the hospital staff. As a mother of that preemie baby you have to ask permission to hold your own child, you are told when to pick them up and when to put them down, you have to ask to help change a diaper, give them a bath, or dress them. In many ways, a mother of a preemie baby has to wait to mother their own child until they are back home. For some moms, that wait can seem never ending.
No mother can be prepared for that waiting. A waiting that often includes seeing their baby in an incubator or hooked up to machines. One that is full of worry because every time the nurse comes they wonder if they will have good news or bad news. This waiting is extremely hard for the mothers because they can never be certain of what is coming.
When that waiting is finally over and the mother gets to bring their baby home they don’t forget that time in the hospital. Often the mother will remember the cries of the many tiny babies in the NICU, the sound of beeping machines, and the sight of rushing nurses and doctors. They will remember how they felt helpless while nurses and machines cared for their child. They will remember the fear from not knowing if their baby will make it another night. They will remember how they felt alone while they waited and worried. What is not so easily remembered is God’s presence throughout all of it.
When a preemie mother is feeling helpless it should be remembered that God is an ever present help in trouble. When they are fearful their strength can be found in God our refuge. When they feel alone they must know that God will never leave or forsake them. God knows, He understands, and He endures every challenge with us, even the challenges of a preemie mother. Giving birth to a preemie baby is hard, but there is great joy in the miracle of life. Seeing a miracle will inspire you, but knowing a miracle will change you. Preemie mothers have the privilege of being both inspired and changed by a miracle. Seeing their baby not only survive, but grow into the great man or woman they will be one day is a living miracle. The struggle and success of delivering and mothering a preemie baby is both challenging and changing.