Like many parents, I fantasied about the mother I hoped to be. Unfortunately, as a young mother, I experienced the birth of a pre-term baby. The birthing process itself and the subsequent moments following are significant and prepare us to connect with the baby, but in the case of premature birth nothing is known, or expected. Nothing could prepare my daughter and me for the cognitive dissonance we experienced at her birth. I called my uterus the ‘unfaithful uterus’ that betrayed not only her, but also me. A plastic box and a medical team that undoubtedly saved her life were her external uterus.
I was forbidden for weeks to hold my daughter. The only touch my daughter experienced during her first two months of life, besides cold, unpleasant, and at times painful medical handling was when we laid two heavy palms on her back through the incubator’s holes. In fact, these small holes only enabled me to complete a few small roles. Not knowing if I should prepare myself for separation from her or surrender to falling in love with her deeper and deeper every day, my heart longed for my baby daughter.
Read more of Shlomit’s article, Therapeutic Insights into Infant Massage.