To the mom with a Preemie

Maybe today you are looking at your active toddler and thinking back to the day that your little gem was born… or maybe you are the mom that just gave birth to a premature baby and is wondering what you did wrong and why did this happen to you?

I want to encourage you – it is not about what you did wrong. You are an amazing mom and just by being there and loving your newborn, you make all the difference. I know that it is hard, I don’t claim to understand the extent of your pain, but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers – you are not alone.

Today, I want to celebrate who you are, to celebrate the strength that you have and the tenacity that you have developed.

I want to thank you for not giving up.

To the mom with a Preemie

I sit here holding my newborn close, trying to understand how painful your journey must have been. But the truth is I don’t think I will ever understand the feeling of giving birth to a beautiful baby and not being able to take him home immediately or kiss him goodnight…

I’m trying to think about how you must have felt standing behind a glass whispering I Love You, but nothing I say can be compared to what you’ve been through because you were forced to bond with restrictions.

I’ve realized how ungrateful I was when I complained about carrying my baby to full term – complaining about the weight pressing down and the backache, wishing for my due date to arrive while you were praying that your baby stayed in your womb for longer… There are so many thoughts running through my head right now and the one thing that remains is to acknowledge how strong you are.

You stayed positive even when there were moments of doubt.

All the chatting through the window, the tears, and the pain built a firm foundation that allowed your baby to pull through. Your very own little survivor…

I know that you found a strength in you that you never knew existed.

How would I ever understand those uncomfortable sleeps on a hard hospital chair or that moment when you shed uncontrollable tears as you watched your newborn turn blue and prayed for the nurses get her to breathe again.

I was the mom who didn’t know what to say to you when I found out you delivered. Should I say “Congratulations?” even though I had freighting thoughts going through my mind thinking that your baby might not survive?

I was the mom that thought it was okay to say: “Baby would be home before you know it.” I never realized what a painful journey 60 days in the hospital is.

I’m sorry… for those moments I bragged about my daughter’s weight and health… For those moments, I complained about the first month of motherhood.

I will never understand the pain of walking away knowing that you leaving your newborn behind… The fear of loss and the never-ending tests which always kept you on edge. But I know you will do whatever you need to for your child. You will fight even when you are weak and fragile.

To the mom with a Preemie

Mommy blogger – Lebogang Mokaedi shared her story with me this weekend and the words that really stood out for me was: “The strength of surviving a premature birth is not a skill, nor does it come in manual. You panic, you cry, you wipe those tears away as realize that this is not about you anymore. You kick into parenting gear and live each day as it comes. All you have is faith, faith that your child will live.”

Tuesday the 17th of November is World Prematurity Day and Huggies® is raising awareness around the issue of premature births and lending their support to those parents who have preemie babies.

According to UNICEF around 22% of all low birthweight infants born in developing countries are born in Africa. The total number of low birthweight babies born in developing regions is more than double the number born in developed regions. In South Africa about 14% of all babies are born too early and are subsequently classified as preemie babies needing special care to survive. This percentage may increase to as much as 25% in the public sector. The mortality rate of premature babies is also three times higher than in newborns. Prematurity is the leading cause of newborn deaths and is still the second leading cause of death after pneumonia in children under the age of five.

To the mom with a Preemies

”A baby who is born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy is classified as preterm,” says Dr. Welma Lubbe, a senior lecturer from the North-West University (Potchefstroom campus) School of Nursing Science and founder of the Little Steps organisation for preemie babies.

Having emotionally supportive friends and family whilst going through this experience is very important for mom and dad. This support structure provides the new parents with the strength and courage needed to give baby all the love and care that they need to grow. Lubbe also says it is also important for dads to be fully supportive of their wives as they tend to feel very helpless during this time.

In order to create awareness around prematurity and to commemorate World Prematurity Day, Huggies® is encouraging people to acknowledge this reality by showing their support to institutions, such as Little Steps, which is dedicated to the well-being of premature babies.

Huggies® is playing a further role in providing care to preterm babies with the Huggies® Preemies nappy range, for when love comes early. A premature nappy needs to offer fragile little babies optimum protection. It needs to be highly absorbent and made from natural, breathable materials to ensure that baby is comfortable which in turn will provide mom with assurance that baby is well taken care of.

Huggies® supports World Prematurity Day and invites you to join in raising awareness of prematurity by liking the World Prematurity Day Facebook page on

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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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  1. Neha
    2015-11-16 / 16:29

    Hey Shaney, thanks for sharing this incredibly powerful article on your blog. Should also mention that in spite of the high stats on preemie births in the continent, NICU and PICU (neonatal and pediatric ICU) facilities as well as specialists remains a dire shortage in Africa – which means the majority of moms facing preemie births don’t gain access to the facilities and care their tiny babies need.

    • 2015-11-16 / 18:59

      Thank you so much Neha. You mentioned something extremely important. Will share that info tomorrow. Thanks for reading.

  2. siphokazi
    2015-11-16 / 19:30

    This story brings tears 2 my eyes. My baby was born at 26 weeks,weighing 720g. Next week Tuesday she will be turning 7 years. Having a Prem bby,is a miracle,which left me viewing life in a very different’s a journey which we still travel to date with my daughter. Thanks for this article,it took me down the memory lane.

    • 2015-11-17 / 10:45

      Thanks for sharing your story. SO glad she is fine. I believe you were chosen for this journey so you could learn from her. 🙂 Lots of hugs to you mom.

  3. 2015-11-16 / 20:06

    This is a beautiful post. I was lucky enough to not have a premature child, but I have a few relatives that did. It was so painful to see them go through it. This post should be read by all.

    • 2015-11-17 / 10:46

      Thank you Jeanette. I can’t imagine that pain. 🙁

  4. 2015-11-16 / 20:44

    None of my girls were preemies but my oldest was close. We forget how lucky we are when we get to take our wonderful bundles of joy home, but not all mothers are that fortunate. And thanks to Huggies for making products for these little wonders.

  5. 2015-11-17 / 15:08

    I am Moroccan, my husband is French, and we live in Gabon. I gave birth to a premature baby in Gabon at 31 weeks, while I planned to give birth in Paris. So we have been repatriated in Johannesburg a few hours after birth by medical airplane. We stayed there one month, our baby in the hospital and my husband and me at the hotel. Therefore, I want to thank all South Africans people, parents of infants in neonatology we have met there and the medical profession who have greatly supported us despite the fact that we were far from our families. Today he is four months, he is doing good and we send all our support to babies and parents who are still in hospital. Keep hope, your baby will get better, the most important is to encourage him, he can feel it.

  6. 2015-11-17 / 17:47

    Hi. My daughter Thea was born at 27 weeks, weighing 830grams. She was in hospital for 69days and upon discharged we had to take her back into hospital a week later. She had to have laser done on both her eyes, so that she didnt go blind. Today she is 18 months old, and learning to walk. She is a happy and smart little girl. She may be a bit behind in her development, but shes doing well. Shes also a feisty little one. I thank God that she didnt give up the fight to be with us.

  7. 2015-11-17 / 20:57

    I can’t imagine the sheer weight of worry that must come with having a preemie. It must be a daily struggle of worry.

  8. 2015-11-18 / 17:58

    This is a very touching post and from reading the comments it looks like you have reached out and touched many!

  9. Ricci
    2015-11-18 / 22:00

    This is such a wonderful post!! I am a respiratory therapist in the NICU and I love working with these sweet babies!! They may be tiny and fragile looking but man they are fighters!!

  10. 2015-11-18 / 23:17

    I cant even imagine what you and those in your situation have gone through. Thank you for sharing your story

  11. RonRon
    2015-11-19 / 03:53

    My first time to hear something about World Prematurity Day. Will definitely share this post and some other articles that promotes this important event.

  12. 2015-11-19 / 04:18

    OMG, I were my eyes supposed to sweat like this from reading this touching message. My niece was a preemie and I remember out many trips to the hospital and counting down the days until she could come home.

  13. 2015-11-19 / 08:14

    I know a few moms who have had preemies and wow the strength that takes. Such a thoughtful and kind post.

  14. 2015-11-19 / 14:55

    This is such a beautiful post. I was lucky enough to have a premature child and everything went well, but I have a few friends that didn’t. Love your post!

  15. 2015-11-20 / 01:48

    Oh goodness this hits a soft spot in my heart, while all of my children were born full term my little cousin wasn’t. He was so small you could fit him in your hand. Today he is a busy body little boy who shows no signs of being a preemie. They are truly a blessing and fighters for sure!

  16. 2015-11-28 / 06:45

    Beatiful post ! my daughter is 3,4kg at birth, we loved the time baby is feeding my family’s happy :).
    best pack and play

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