Help & Support - a quick look

quick look preemiehelp

Parenting a preemie can be tough and it's important to find ways of coping and looking after your own health. It can also make you feel more in control if you can learn some great strategies to help with your prem's learning and development.


Finding a balance and a way forward

Parenting a preemie can be challenging and is a significant life transition. It is important that you find time and ways of taking care of your own health and wellbeing. Eating well, staying fit and healthy, and getting enough rest and relaxation are vital for optimal health. Maintaining and caring for relationships, especially with your partner is also important. If you need it, don't discard the option of professional assistance. Also, find advice about optimizing development and learning strategies to help with thinking & behavior difficulties.

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Coping and Healing with premature birth

The emotional journey associated with premature birth can cause a lot of stressful feelings and many parents of preterm babies find it very difficult to cope.

As part of the healing process it is important to recognise these feelings, accept the reasons for these feelings, and begin to adjust to your circumstances and find ways of coping.

Coping and Healing with premature birth

Feelings of Grief

Coping is not about avoiding feelings of grief and sadness. Coping and emotional wellbeing means recognising and accepting your feelings of sorrow.

Obviously this isn’t an easy process but slowly you will start to feel more in control. Feelings of grief which make you feel defeated, disheartened and overwhelmed, are especially challenging, however recognising and facing these emotions enables you to adjust and adapt to your baby’s prematurity instead of allowing grief to take over everything you do and feel.

Bottling up your grief may also create destructive feelings about yourself, your preterm baby, or those close to you. You may transfer your pessimistic feelings toward your loved ones. By facing these emotions, it becomes possible to see things in a more positive light. Allowing the pain to surface and immersing yourself in it, will actually help you to regain control over your life. Over time it will become possible to think back over your preterm baby’s trials and sufferings without being affected by emotion.

Tips for Coping

  • Take time to individually identify each of your feelings:
    Examine your feelings to separate feelings of anger that are directed at uncaring hospital procedures from those feelings of helplessness and frustration you experience about your lack of experience with your preemie
  • Allow yourself time to adjust to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU):
    Ask questions, and get to know and understand the NICU (Introduction to the NICU)
  • Ask questions and express your fears:
    Ask questions often and keep asking if you need to, so you get the answers and reassurance you need to help alleviate your feelings of guilt, hopelessness and helplessness. Remember these feelings occur because you want to protect and to care for your preterm baby
  • Seek reassurance from websites, books and articles:
    Talk to other parents of preterm babies, search preemiehelp to find the information you need, and take comfort from knowing you are not alone in your experiences
  • Seek counselling and/or join support groups:
    Professional help can help you work through your feelings of grief and enable you to find healthy ways of coping
  • Find time for yourself:
    Make time for physical or creative pursuits as they promote a release of tension and give a feeling of achievement, pleasure, joy, pride, and confidence.

Things to remember

  • Having a preterm baby places you in a situation over which you have very little control
  • Many fathers feel alone when dealing with their feelings of weakness and helplessness due to the pressures and expectations society places on men.
  • Men have many different ways of dealing with loss. However, a father’s grief can be just as strong as a mother’s, but the expression of this grief may differ. Because men and women tend to express these feelings differently it can mean that both feel isolated and misunderstood.
  • Father’s should try and take a break from the role of protector. Give yourself a chance to face your feelings, making it easier to accept the emotions of your partner.
  • Facing up to your fears and weaknesses can liberate your feelings of anger, guilt, failure or reproach.
  • Focus on the achievable, and don’t try to fix the unfixable.
  • Try to do things that help you face up to and cope with your feelings.
  • Try counselling if you feel you are struggling to face your feelings.
  • Be accepting of you and your partners’ differences; tolerate and embrace the differences as they are normal and necessary.

The complete preemie guide to surviving the NICU ebook and hard copy

(The Complete Preemie Guide to: Surviving the NICU is now available at our store!)

AlbertEinstein_iconOne of the greatest minds in history, Albert Einstein was born preterm.

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Preemie Help is also looking to provide a resource for any professionals that have contact with preterm babies and children in order to help them best understand the challenges that face a preemie. Get in contact to help us impact preemies.

Preemie, Premmie, or Prem?

Most babies spend between 38 and 42 weeks in their mother’s uterus. So, technically a preterm birth, preemie, premmie, or prem, is an infant who is born less than 37 completed gestational weeks. 

Read More: Defining Preterm birth



New Release - Preemie Development

All in one easy to read eguide

‘The complete preemie guide to: ‘Preemie development’ is the must have guide to the NICU for new preemie parents.

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Packed with extra features like progress charts, NICU checklists and plenty of others. ‘The preemie guide’ is a must for any new parents.