N · Parenting · Prematurity

“How old is he..?”

“How old is he?” “How old is your baby?” “He’s lovely – how old?”

The very first question that seems to be asked in any parent and baby group, without exception. At least, so far, perhaps because he looks so young still. 

Well…it’s complicated, I think. 

He’s three and a half months. 

But I can’t say that alone, or they stare in confusion at my tiny newborn-looking infant.

He’s one month…Corrected, I silently add.

That answer alone is ok for the stranger in the supermarket. But if I’m hoping to make friends with these women, or even just see them more than once at this group, it’s bound to come out later. Plus, it erases two and a half months of motherhood: all the time in hospital, nights spent expressing instead of breastfeeding, the panicked early labour, my son’s fight to breathe and grow and feed when he should have still been tucked up inside my womb. 

He’s three and a half months, but he was born early which is why he’s so small…

Fine. True. But now, a half an hour conversation about prematurity and hospitals and how he’s doing now and feeding tubes and incubators – often accompanied by horrified looks…which is sometimes fine. I’m so proud of N and what he’s overcome. More quietly, I’m also proud of V and myself – we got through it! We’ve come out the other side – luckily, fairly intact – and I think we’re doing ok at this parenting thing. But…maybe I didn’t feel like that conversation today. Maybe I just wanted to talk about interrupted sleep and maternity leave and breastfeeding. 

“How old is he..?”

Sigh… 

2 thoughts on ““How old is he..?”

  1. Oh I can relate to this SO much! Titch was a 24 weeker and the looks of confusion when answering that this tiny 3lb newborn looking baby was actually over 3 months old when from funny to infruriating.

    And then the way everyone wants to discuss all the little details of the nightmare that was SCBU, 4 years on I still don’t like talking about it.

    It does get easier I promise, one day it will seem like a distant nightmare that happened in another life.

    Please feel free to email me any time you need a chat x x x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! Oh I can imagine with a 24 weeker option 1 was even less feasible! Yep – I don’t mind the initial response, but two minutes later when the other mum is looking horrified at feeding tubes, or when you feel you’re saying it wasn’t that bad to make them feel better (it feels like!) then I have regrets. But I also don’t want to lie if I’m going to see them again! I imagine it gets easier and also that the age difference becomes far less important as they get older. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

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