I entirely blame years of shiftwork, but in the 1990s I acquired a rather serious Oprah habit. I make no apologies. In my mind she talked about child abuse before anyone else. She has tried to make it ok to talk about, and I thank her for her spirit of truth and openess.
I am in no way the only blogger to talk about prematurity. Am I the best blogger? Absolutely not, and I have never set out to be. There are loads of fabulous blogs out there that you can read, many of which are listed in my recommended reading list. I love reading about other people's journeys with their babies, its inspiring. I would love to see a million premmie mum blogs out there!
What I have realised over the last few days is this blog is and always has been less about the baby's journey and more about the parent's journey, and ok, more specifically the mother's journey. When Joseph was born I felt completely alone, I remember that loneliness so well. I felt I had no one to turn to, no one to really talk to about my feelings, worries, insecurities, and as has become clear, the situation was terribly complex.
What I wanted was a mentor. Someone who had been through that experience and come out the other side. Someone to give practical advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a kick up the bum from time to time. I wanted to be scooped up in love, told that this time would pass, that Joseph would be safe, that I would be able to be a proper mum eventually. And yes, I did get those messages in bits. It's funny, looking back, my biggest source of every day support were the chaplains at the hospital.
In many ways, Joseph has been far less affected by his premature birth than I have. Looking at him now, you would never guess, his childhood is unmarked by it, for which I am forever grateful and thankful.
What I've realised is that a lot of us who have had premature babies have had really crap things happen in their lives, and that premature birth brings it back, in spades. I am hoping now I can have a new spirit of openness on my blog and help other parents, other mothers, sat by incubators with their pasts tumbling over them, threatening to drag them under.
Premature birth is about the baby, and babies should be at the heart of everything we do. However I am passionate that there is just not enough true support for families going through this.
That's why I work with charities like Bliss and Tommy's as I know they are both passionate about this. But in the end, its up to us, as mothers, to be mentors, to provide comfort, hope and support to one another.
And I hope that in some small way, I have helped with this.