• Kristina Mulligan

Prematurity Awareness: The Importance of Congratulations

The birth of a baby is an occasion to celebrate, no matter the circumstances, no matter how small.

I’ve spoken before about how I made the decision, in the thick of it, to cancel my baby shower. The choice, on my part, was made in grief. My shower was scheduled to take place just a couple of weeks after Flynn was born and I was just too overwhelmed to even think about the rest of the planning that I had to do, and I couldn’t even imagine the conversations based in pity that would be had that day given our family situation. I didn’t want to talk about it, I didn’t know how. That’s not what I wanted my shower to be.

It turns out that, unbeknownst to me at the time of voicing my decision, I would be in the ICU on the day of my baby shower. My sister and mom took care of everything, cancelling all arrangements definitively.

When the shower was called off, it ended the hope of any excitement and celebration.

We were a family with a baby in the NICU, where circumstances and statistics would change each day. Our homecoming as a family of three was not a sure thing, especially given my eventual state. And with that, people didn’t know what to say. They didn’t know what to do.

My miracle baby, who had been very long-awaited and strived for, faded into the background.

As new parents, we entered into our new phase of life without a sound, clinging onto each other for hope and celebrating ourselves.

I tell you this so that, if you’ve ever been in these shoes, you don’t feel alone. I’m celebrating you.

And if you find yourself facing this situation with someone you love: congratulate them. Throw literal confetti at them because they’re walking a hard road and their newfound parenthood is so worth celebrating.

Every life, no matter how small, no matter the circumstances, even the most brief, deserves to be recognized. So, never be discouraged to say, “Congratulations!”

Originally posted on my social media for Prematurity Awareness Month.

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