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Proudly Supporting

Hands Up for Helping Families of Premature Babies

By - 12th March 2013

image from Miracle Babies Foundation website, no reproduction permitted

by Kylie Pussell*: March is always a hard month for me; I try to stay busy and keep focused so that my mind doesn’t have time to spend on my own thoughts. On the 15th of  March this year, it will be nine years since I saw my precious baby, Marcus.   I feel weird calling it an anniversary; this word makes it sound like a celebration.  To me, it will always be another year since I got to kiss, hold, cuddle, talk to, touch, dream of his life, and so much more.

Marcus was born on 13 March 2004 at just 25 weeks gestation and weighing only 780 grams. His twin sister Scarlet was born weighing 645 grams. 

Marcus  tried so hard. He put all his energy into living, and we did not leave his bedside. Most likely, he would have enjoyed a long and rewarding life, except he was born too early. Our lives changed forever on day two of Marcus’ life, when his battle was over.

How many dreams for a life can you squeeze into two days?

While survival statistics for premature babies are certainly improving, there are still up to one thousand babies a year that lose their battle.  Heartbreaking and devastating for families, hospital and support staff are there to help get things sorted and create memories when the parents just don’t have anything left.  Your whole body and mind becomes numb, you can go from place to place or see people but have no recollection of seeing them.  For me, grief is like an everyday emotion. 

The first two years after saying goodbye to Marcus were really hard. Scarlet had a difficult time in hospital, but after four months, she finally came home. Then also, were the reminders of “there should be two”, echoing in my mind. Still, nine years on, these echoes are still in my mind every time I tuck Scarlet into bed at night and mostly, just all the time.

It wasn’t until Scarlet was about one that I met other parents of premature and sick babies, and we formed Miracle Babies Foundation. Only then, did I start to share my journey. To process my emotions and what we had been through as a family only really started to happen once I started to open up. The support I received from these parents was amazing. To be able to talk about my fears, my guilt, my grief, and my complete sadness allowed me to spend time on myself and feel confident in sharing my journey. 

In a way, I had to find my new normal. One where I could rejoice my surviving children, whilst also loving and remembering Marcus has taken a lot of hard work.  And although March will always be a difficult month, as it will always be another year further away from when I kissed and cuddled Marcus, I miss him and love him every day. By acknowledging  this love every day, my new normal is okay.  In fact, I feel very lucky and blessed that I have three surviving children and I also have guardian angels who watch over us. 

My support network of family and Miracle Babies Foundation has supported me to help others. By being there for other parents in difficult situations I hope to show them that you can find a new normal and it is okay to be happy again. Grief lives with you forever, but so does the love, the memories and dreams of your loved one. For some families, grief may be the loss of dreams as they are coming to terms with children who may have special needs.

Miracle Babies Foundation is Australia’s leading not-for-profit organisation that supports premature and sick newborns, their families and the hospitals that care for them.

We need your help. For just $5 a week you can register for Hands Up for Miracles and help support families to find their new normal.

*Kylie Pussell is a counsellor and National Program Manager for Miracle Babies Foundation.

To register your support online please visit www.miraclebabies.org.au                                               Ph:  1300 773 664

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