This moment. I don't know what you see when you see this picture. I look into my eyes. I look completely and utterly knackered. And there is fear. I feel much older than my 36 years here. My smile is forced, but my embrace is not. I remember holding this tiny Joseph and just wanting to take him away somewhere quiet, like a mother cat looking for a cupblard to put her kittens in.
Joseph must be two weeks old here, yet still my bruises are fresh. I can't see this photo without feeling sad.
Does having had a premature baby define me and my parenting. Yes, it does. I can't hide from it. The way I mother Joseph is all tied up in the way he was taken from me, not yet developed, not yet grown, my body incapable of its basic function, keeping him safe.
And you know, that's ok. I don't have to pretend anymore. If I am hung up on him being born 13 weeks too soon, that's just fine, we all have our hang ups and achilles heel, and that's mine.
We're heading into November in 2 days time, and I'll be busy with lots of activity around World Prematurity Day. Prematurity isn't something theoretical to me, and mother's like me. It's real, it's long lasting. And it matters. Preterm birth matters. And it matters because of its deep last effect on babies, and their families, and their communities.
I look at that frightened mother and wonder, what could we have done better to look after her? I think some of the American charities and organisations are leading the way here, what can we do better to look after mums, dads and other family members?
And isn't it just as well that someone in the family isnt bothered about being born 13 weeks early.