Our names are Lisa Norman and Stacey Matthews and we run Presents for Preemies. We are both mums of boys, and both of us had one born prematurely. We’ve not written this blog to tell you a sob story but tell you about how resilient life events like these can make you.
Lisa’s son was born at 30 weeks with Hydrops Fetalis and SVT (Supraventricular Tachycardia). He had a 10% chance of survival, but he fought hard and is thriving today. His birth and watching his fight for life is one of the hardest things Lisa had to do. When he came home the responsibility to keep him well was overwhelming but Lisa learnt plenty and is now in a position to share that knowledge.
Stacey’s son was born at 32 weeks. Her son had reduced movement and Stacey had high blood pressure, neither of which could be explained. So the decision to have him delivered early was made for them. He was urgently taken to the neonatal unit for treatment to get him stable. Following his birth they realised it was due to a foetal maternal haemorrhage which Doctors were surprised he survived. Like Lisa’s son, he’s a fighter and is now thriving, but Stacey also had to learn a lot along the way to build her resilience and now has a lot of knowledge to share too.
A lot of parents with premature babies will voluntarily go into lockdown in order to protect their little ones. Especially in the winter months. A simple cold has the potential to do a lot of damage to a premature baby. A combination of their under developed lungs and under developed immune system are contributing factors. The voluntary lockdown that preemie parents go into may have given us a slight advantage over a few when the country as a whole was forced into lockdown earlier this year.
Here we are again in a second lockdown and many are struggling to come to terms with this. We realise that volunteering to go into lockdown and having it forced upon us is a very different experience. However, there are a few things that we can pass on:
Don’t see this as a punishment or something you HAVE to do.
Mindset is everything. Your mind is a very powerful thing. Your mind will also believe what you tell it, so if you say to yourself this is punishment then you will start to believe it. Try and rephrase it by saying you are doing this to protect, yourself, your family, your friends, strangers. Or instead of thinking you HAVE to stay in, rephrase it to I get to stay safe whilst spending more time focused on what’s important to me, be that spending with your children, finishing those projects you haven’t had time to finish or starting that new business working from home! “I get to” takes the perception of force away. If you feel you are struggling then reach out to some mental health charities or contact your GP.
Find opportunities but have realistic expectations!
Be sensible with this one. If you have young children it’s unlikely you’ll all be fluent in a new language by the end of this lockdown. But there are plenty of other things that you could do. You might have been meaning to do some research on a topic of interest. Or maybe you’ve been Fimeaning to clear a cupboard out that you didn’t get round to in the first lockdown. What about making some more lockdown memories with your children? Or maybe you can get a head start on writing out your Christmas cards, buying gifts online and getting them all wrapped. You could even organise a virtual Christmas party!!
Stay in contact with your support network.
Skype and Zoom calls are an amazing way to stay in touch with loved ones. We know everyone is feeling a bit fatigued with these ways of communication (face to face is much better we know) but talking to family and friends is a great way to get a bit of a lift. It’s also good for others to see you too and keeping in touch with the outside world, will make reintegrating at the end of lockdown less scary!
If you can, getting out to exercise is a fab way to boost your mood and help prevent cabin fever. Go for a walk, run or bike ride and enjoy the autumn scenery the colours are just beautiful!
If you can’t get out maybe look at creating yourself a little routine indoors. There are lots of fitness experts on Facebook and Instagram doing taster sessions for free. There is a huge number of videos on You Tube that you can do at your leisure, not to mention Sky/Virgin/Netflix etc all have a few work outs available to download. Or if you want to support local gym instructors find your favourite and see if they have moved some of their classes online. This is a perfect way to get those endorphins pumping, to set you up for the day ahead.
There was a divide last lockdown between people eating healthily and getting fit and others saying they were getting far to friendly with their fridges. That divide happened between our houses too (Lisa was on her fitness bike most days, while Stacey baked and ate waaaay too many cakes!) Again there is a wealth of information online of healthy recipes and snack ideas. There’s also a lot of science that suggests our diets and gut health can have quite an impact on our mental health. As well as mental health, getting a good balance of vitamins and minerals can really help our immune systems too which is always handy amidst a pandemic!!
Kale smoothies anyone?
Lisa knows all too well that’s Pregnancy and birth experiences have been hugely affected because of the Corona craziness, after having her own lockdown baby! But we are aware that the struggles of being a preemie parent have been even harder to navigate for those who have had a premature baby during this time. We want to reach out to those parents who would like an additional support network. Please come and join our group the Preemie Support Village. We actively support and encourage you to share your experiences, talk about yours and your baby’s milestones, offer self-care advice, top tips and direct you to different resources.
You can also access our blog at www.presentsforpreemies.co.uk/blog which is full of different blogs covering a wide variety of topics too.
We aren’t all in the same boat but we are all sailing the same storm and if we can all work together to help make that storm seem a little less fierce for those already finding it hard to stay afloat then we can all make it out the other side of this lockdown as much more resilient people!
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/presentsforpreemies
Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/preemiesupportvillage