For most families that are expecting a new baby there is a great deal of joy and anticipation. That time of nesting and attending a baby shower can quickly lose its joyous tone when there is an unexpected premature birth. Suddenly thoughts about what color to paint the nursery are replaced by technical medical jargon and long hours or days spent keeping vigil next to your child in their incubator.
Friends and family can be a vital source of support. Bringing food to the hospital, saying prayers and taking care of older children all provide much needed comfort and support to the parents. But sometimes insensitive actions and comments from others can add unneeded stress to the parents' environment. After taking a taking a preemie home from the NICU it is likely not comforting when a woman at the grocery store remarks on how very small your baby is.
Some friends may assume that once your baby is home from the hospital there are no longer any lingering health concerns. But many times those first months home for premature infants involve repeated visits to the doctor to check on the infants progress and general anxiety on the part of the parents as they do all they can to help the baby thrive.
Fortunately some special care nurseries and NICUs have begun programs to help sensitize friends and families to some of the stresses that parent are experiencing. More and more nurseries are also providing psychological counseling for parents whose newborns must remain hospitalized for extended periods.
Source: ABC News Health "Insensitive Comments Common for Parents of Premature Infants" MIKAELA CONLEY June 15, 2011