For some reason parents of premature babies want to know about parents of other premature babies. They also want to hear their stories learn about their babies and share in the triumphs and the challenges of having a baby born too soon.
Is this because we want to know that we are not alone? Does it help to know that others experience a similar journey and make it through? The answer to this must be yes!
We want to hear about the lives of others and be encouraged and supported by how they dealt with the anxiety and traumatic experience of having a premature baby.
All this sharing however can come at a cost. For so called “celebrities” who have a premature baby the experience must be tougher at times than for most. What must it have been like for Gordon and Sarah Brown to have their very sad loss of their son catalogued and followed by the press, right down to the photographs of them leaving hospital at a time which must have been incredibly painful? Hideous I think.
The thing is, having a premature baby is a great leveller. It does not matter how rich, famous or glamorous or talented you are: an early baby looks the same and behaves the same whomsoever the parents might be!
What about all the money to help I hear you cry? Ever heard of a celebrity having a premature baby at the Portland Hospital (the uber posh private maternity hospital that the likes of Mr & Mrs Beckham use). No, siree. At the first squeak of trouble or strife or niggling of a premature birth it’s straight into an NHS hospital for you, mum. Private healthcare for neonates is just too expensive to be available in any meaningful away and certainly doesn’t exist so far as I know in UK for neonatal intensive care.
Talking of footballers and their wives let’s hear it for the amazing Phil Neville and his wife, Julie are dedicated and dogged fundraisers for Bliss, the leading neonatal charity the UK. Their daughter, Isabella, was born at 30 weeks in January 2004. Isabella is a lovely little girl, who, with the support of strong and resourceful parents seems to be doing a brilliant job at overcoming some of the health problems she has faced.
Phil and Julie Neville are also powerful advocates for continuity of care and continue to press and lobby for more support for parents in their home when there baby is discharged.