If Your Baby Was Born Prematurely, You May Have Experienced Grief, Sadness And Feelings Of Loss. According To A New Study Published This Week In The Online Version Of Pediatrics, Babies Do Better When Moms Are Able To Resolve Their Grief.

If your baby was born prematurely, you may have experienced grief, sadness and feelings of loss. According to a new study published this week in the online version of Pediatrics, babies do better when moms are able to resolve their grief.
If your baby was born prematurely, you may have experienced grief, sadness and feelings of loss. According to a new study published this week in the online version of Pediatrics, babies do better when moms are able to resolve their grief. New research by the University of Michigan Health System and the University of Wisconsin shows that the degree to which a mother can resolve these feelings is thought to affect attachment between the mother and infant. That attachment has long-term implications for the infant's social and emotional development. (Source: Medical News Today) The study of 74 infants who were born prematurely found that moms who were able to resolve their grief were three times as likely to have a "securely attached" baby. This was the first study that focused on mothers' unresolved grief and attachment. Regarding a mom's resolution of grief, the study found that it was NOT affected by any of the following factors:
  • Mom's education
  • Mom's age
  • Mom's socioeconomic status
  • Depression
  • Mom's marital status
  • Child's gender
  • Child's race
  • Length of hospitalization
  • Whether there were multiple births
  • Degree of prematurity
  • Health of infant
I found it very interesting that the last two factors -- the degree of prematurity and the health of the infant -- were not factors in a mom's resolution of grief. The simple part of my brain would assume that if a baby weren't too premature and were healthy, it wouldn't be as difficult to deal with the grief of delivering prematurely. And that would by why it's the simple part of my brain that had the thought! I hope that this study isn't yet another thing to add to a mom's already full plate, or something to make a mom feel guilt. Instead, I hope it's something that expectant moms keep in the backs of their minds in the event they deliver prematurely. Feeling grief over delivering prematurely makes sense. Grief is a very normal human emotion that we experience in so many situations.
Adapting to having a preterm infant can be similar to adapting to having a child with a chronic illness, Shah adds. Resolving grief might mean that the mother has to adjust her expectations and hopes for her child in the face of uncertainties, and mourn the "hoped-for child" while still embracing the child she has, Shah says. [Prachi E. Shah, M.D., assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at C. S. Mott Children's Hospital.]
Did you deliver prematurely? Did you experience grief? And if so how did you work through it? Do you think that affected your baby's attachment?

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