Parenting is not easy even under the best of conditions. When your child is a premature baby, parenting is even tougher. There are some very hard decisions that come with the territory, decisions that can sometimes be equal parts heartbreaking and the right thing to do. We have recently been made aware of that thanks to a brave mother and father sharing their story with the media.
As you may already know, parents Amy and Conor Campbell became the parents of two premature twins back in July 2016. Esme and Charlotte were born at 26 weeks and instantly began fighting for their lives. Mum and dad were eventually faced with the decision of whether to keep them alive on life support.
Unfortunately, Esme didn't make it. Her parents had to make the tough decision to let her go after an excessive amount of fluid built up in her brain. We cannot imagine having to make that decision, but it is a decision parents have to make at hospitals across the country all the time. The good news is that Charlotte survived and is now thriving as she nears her second birthday. Amy is also pregnant again.
If you are facing the prospect of giving birth to a premature baby, please know that you are not alone. So many others have gone down the same road before you. Yes, there will be difficult decisions to be made as you embark on this new chapter of your life. But there will be others who come alongside you to help. Lean on them. Ask them questions and learn from their experiences.
Parenting a premature baby is a life-altering experience. Fortunately, survival rates have steadily increased in the UK for more than a decade. Still, that doesn't erase the trials and tribulations that come with premature birth. As any parent of a premature baby can attest to, these babies have to be approached differently because of their unique and special needs.
As a parent, you may find it very difficult to separate the emotions you are feeling from the physical needs of your child. That is completely understandable and absolutely normal. Yet despite how you're feeling, there will be decisions that have to be made. Here are a few tips for helping you make them even if you feel you can't do it:
Amy and Conor are heroic parents who did what they thought was in the best interests of their premature twins. None of us are in a position to second-guess their choices. Let's face it, you never really know what it's like to parent a premature baby until you have one yourself.