World Prematurity Day 2016

November is National Prematurity Awareness Month and today happens to be World Prematurity Day.

Most of us do not think about prematurity.  Premature babies happen to someone else.  Right? It happens to people who did not take care of themselves during pregnancy. It happens to people who were not well to begin with… Well, no, not necessarily.  Premature birth can happen to anyone.   There are not always risk factors involved. Does it even matter how it happens? Children as well as their parents or caregivers and their future are imperiled and in need of medical care, social workers and kindness from all to succeed in the future.Daddy & Riley Nicu 2002

Our medical knowledge has made great strides in aiding premature babies to survive. However, their future is still uncertain.

Suffering a premature birth leaves a child and family have a difficult road before them. For myself fourteen years later, I am still faced with constant decisions affecting my child’s future and his health.  This challenge will never end as long as I continue to fight for his health and quality of life.  Should you know anyone in this situation, reach out and offer a helping hand. Or at least be there to listen.

There are also ways to support premature babies and their families.  Hospitals with extended stay NICUs often ask volunteers simply to hold and be with premature babies who desperately need physical contact beyond what their families and medical staff can provide.  There are also NICU support groups in need of volunteers to help their families navigate their new life. Here in Southwest Florida, Hope For Kids provides services to NICU families and is a very worthy cause to support.  Check with your own local hospice which may have a pediatric division.

I welcome other ideas to support families with premature children. Please do share your own thoughts in the comments.

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