Making a Broader Impact

When it comes to what we are up to these days, Seattle Parents of Preemies is just about everywhere.  We are making an impact serving on the Smooth Way Home Coalition, working with UW Medicine on Maternal and Infant Mental Health, serving on advisory boards, working with specialists in their fields of study to serve and represent you and your voice.

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Sharing Your Story

Sharing your story can be such a cathartic process.  Tonight's Seattle session we went back, way back into time.  We skipped over the "birds and the bees" explanation and began at conception.  Real conception, the one that sometimes is more complicated than that junior high Human Development class alluded to.  One of the many things I love about Seattle Parents of Preemies (SPP) is our sessions are always real, sometimes strikingly so.  For some of us our experience of conception begins like a fairy tale and ends at some level of disappointment, for others it begins with trauma and ends in disappointment.  The similarity here is disappointment.   Wouldn't it be nice if life was like a true fairy tale with a perfect conception through full term delivery story with an adorable chubby little baby being placed in your hands?  Sadly this is not the world we live in as parents of preemies.  We have layers of trauma and disappointment that are now expressed in the form of sleepless nights, stress, anger, grief, and anxiety; caught in a world that sometimes doesn't seem to understand our neurosis and surrounded by loved ones who just don't "get us".

As for myself, Henrik is almost 5 and I have spoken hundreds of times about our journey.  Arlene, Yuna and myself are on a mission to educate hospital staff and comfort families both in the hospital and out.  Each time I talk about Henrik and my lost loves Thomas and Marcus, my load lightens and the clouds in my eyes seem to clear.  They say time heals all wounds, but for me I believe it left some scar tissue behind.  I am able to speak about what I went through and it doesn't pain me the way it did years ago.  When my heart feels heavy I do a little cognitive therapy to realize why I am feeling the way I do and identify the truth of how I am feeling.  As an example, I have a dear friend who had 3 beautiful boys and when she would talk about how she had 3 boys, my chest would tighten and it literally pained me. Why? Because a piece of me still feels I should have 2 more boys running around.  Thomas and Marcus would be 7 and as I see the passion in Henrik's eyes, I don't doubt they would have loved Legos too.

In reality, nobody's life runs like a fairy tale.  We are all faced with different levels of exposure to trauma.  For you, it might have been loosing a baby, or watching them struggle to breathe, for others it might be the first time their child breaks a bone.  Trauma can be a relative term.  No matter what you are struggling with emotionally whether its coming to terms of the loss of that ideal birth story or being caught in the web of feeding issues and development delays, I urge you to reach out to someone you can trust like a mom on our Facebook page or a dear friend with a great listening ear.  Tell them what plagues your heart, and yes cry it out my lovelies.  I promise the more you tell your story, the better you will feel.

-Audrey Smith