All the while mum and dad are overwhelmed by the generosity of so many people – many of whom they do not even know.
Then reality hits.
It is not unusual for parents of premature babies to struggle with guilt and self-doubt. Such feelings can be exacerbated when confronted by an overwhelming amount of charity. It's not the parents don't appreciate the kindness of others; it is more that they feel they are unworthy of it.
We want to set the record straight by saying it is okay to embrace the giveaways organised on behalf of parents of premature babies. It's okay to take advantage of giveaways offered by support groups and charities. It is alright to accept gifts from other parents who have gone through similar situations.
It might be useful for parents to remember that people tend to want to help when they hear of difficult situations such as theirs. But not everyone in the neighbourhood can actually come over and take a turn sitting with the baby or administering therapy. Not every person at work can come over and spend a couple of nights so mum and dad can get away.
It turns out that the most effective way friends and family can help is often by participating in the giveaway. They can relieve some financial stress by paying for medical equipment, extra supplies, and things as seemingly routine as food and nappies. They can help relieve some of the pressure by coming over to handle household chores. They can even help by taking older children for an outing so that mum and dad can enjoy some quiet time with the new baby.
If you are the parent of a premature baby, remember that it's okay to embrace the giveaways. People want to help you; let them do it. There may come a day when you are the experienced veteran looking to help others who are going through the very same things for the first time. Then all the kindness that was shown to you in the past can be turned and showered on them. Isn't that what it's all about?