• Kristina Mulligan

Prematurity Awareness: Birth Announcements

One of my first struggles with sadness as a preemie mom was curating a birth announcement. As silly as it sounds, for some, this is a Pinterest-worthy milestone moment, almost a rite of passage into motherhood in the new age.

“Look at my sweet baby! Look! I’m so excited that they’re here! Celebrate with me!”

Even at 28 weeks pregnant, I had a coming home/announcement outfit picked out. I remember after our first ultrasound, my husband and I went to Target to start our registry and saw the most perfect grey onesie that said, “Hi, I’m new here!” and I knew that was THE outfit.

But, my baby was born too tiny, too fragile to wear clothing. It would be weeks before I could dress him, and even then, the wires and tubes wouldn’t allow for certain outfits. His first public photo was just his little foot, with his ankle bracelet smaller than my wedding ring, filtered in black and white, and cropped so the audience would see as little of his translucent skin and lifelines as possible. I didn’t want the first impression people had of our child to be that of pity. He was strong. We knew this.

It wasn’t the dream announcement that I had hoped, but I needed the support of people within our community.

After Flynn was discharged from the NICU and we approached his would-have-been birthday, we decided to have a newborn session with an amazing photographer (Rachel Crittenden Photography) who encouraged us to put him in the outfit we had chosen for him so many months ago. It was big for his small frame, but workable. Flynn didn’t love it, but I got my announcement photo - we just happened to choose a more content version of him (not wearing clothes, by the way) peering over the side of a basket. We still have it hanging on our wall.

The point is, you can grieve and you can survive all Your expectations may need to change, but you can still get your “special.”

Originally posted on my social media for Prematurity Awareness Month.

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