Parenting is proud to be the exclusive media partner of Graham’s Foundation and Parents of Preemies Day. Graham’s Foundation is a non-profit that offers practical and emotional support to parents of babies born prematurely.
Whenever prematurity makes the news, there are always shocking statistics front and center. The fact that more than half a million babies in the U.S—1 out of every 8—are born premature each year is scary stuff and makes for a great hook. As compelling as those stats are, though, they don't tell the whole story.
Prematurity isn't just a medical issue or a financial issue or an odds game—it's a family issue. Behind every picture of a tiny preemie splayed out in her isolette amid tangles of wires and tubes, there is a family who never imagined their baby would be that 1 in 8. After the birth of a preemie, moms and dads find themselves in the NICU instead of a nursery, dealing with life and death decisions instead of the drudgery of diapers. Graham’s Foundation founders Nick and Jennifer Hall learned this firsthand when their twins were born at 25 weeks. Their son Graham lost his battle after 45 days. Daughter Reece spent 4 months in the NICU before she finally came home.
Parents of preemies have their own set of statistics that don't make the news. It's estimated that as many as 33 percent of fathers and 9 percent of mothers develop post-traumatic stress disorder. Similar numbers suffer from anxiety and depression. And yet moms and dads of preemies are also strong and resilient because they have to be when they are the emotional support systems and medical advocates for babies and children who face so many challenges related to their early births. Sometimes the effects of prematurity can last years or even a lifetime, and it's parents who step up to make sure conditions related to prematurity, like cerebral palsy, chronic lung disease, hearing loss, and blindness, don't define their kids.
Last year marked the first ever Parents of Preemies Day, a day honoring the courage and commitment of moms and dads thrust into the world of prematurity. It attracted attention from parents all over the world who were excited to have permission to share their preemie parent pride--yes, pride. There's actually a lot to be proud of, from pumping endlessly for a baby you can’t hold, or learning to flush a g-tube like a pro, to supporting babies who overcome odds so dire they're almost unimaginable. The milestones preemie parents celebrate may not appear on the typical charts, but they're worthy of celebration nonetheless.
Now the second Parents of Preemies Day is coming up fast on Sunday, March 10. If you're a preemie parent, whether your son or daughter is an infant or well into childhood, Graham's Foundation, the producer of Parents of Preemies Day, invites you to celebrate alongside thousands of moms and dads who plan to share their preemie parent pride. Here are just some of the ways you can celebrate Parents of Preemie's Day:
- Check here to find out if there is an event happening in your area.
- Share your family's story on the Parents of Preemies Day Facebook page.
- Connect with other parents of preemies at the #ParentsofPreemiesDay Twitter chat on Sunday, March 10, from 2-3 p.m. EST.
- Bloggers, visit the Parents of Preemies Day website and grab a badge for your sidebar, then create a Parents of Preemies Day post to tell the world why you're proud to be a preemie mom or dad.