Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents

Being Chosen as a Preemie Mom

Being able to hold Kylie made my day!

Being able to hold Kylie made my day!

I spent a lot of time during our NICU stay, as well as some time after we were home, battling thoughts in my mind of “Why us? Why did we have to go through that?” As a Christian, I knew there had to be some sort of lesson behind it and tried to figure out what that lesson was, or if I would ever know. We saw and experienced a lot, not just with our own child but through the eyes of other parents who suffered loss and illness of their sweet babies. Why was this happening to them?

I was once sharing these thoughts and emotions when Kylie was about 6 months old with a, what I like to call ‘Veteran Preemie Mommy’. She seemed to have this whole NICU thing behind her and was very involved with prematurity awareness. She seemed so strong, like her NICU experience had affected her, but it was in the past and she had defeated any fears or feelings she once had. I wanted that strength and determination to just move on but was not sure where she had found that kind of strength. She shared a poem with me that forever changed my outlook on being a preemie parent. As I read it, I saw the faces of my NICU mom friends.

I would like to share that poem with you now; I hope it brings some closure and peace to why YOU were chosen. I may not know the exact reason I was chosen but I am learning every day how time heals and how helpful to others it is now being able to share our stories through Preemie Babies 101.

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen
by Erma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen?

Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger.

“Armstrong, Beth, son. Patron Saint, Matthew.
Forrest, Marjorie, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia.
Rutledge, Carrie, twins. Patron Saint…give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.”

Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.”

The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair.  Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says momma for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see– ignorance, cruelty, prejudice– and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her patron saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air.

God smiles. “A mirror will suffice.”

Erma Bombeck (personal communication, July 2010)

Dani Curliss About Dani Curliss

Dani Curliss (TX) is the mother of two, Kylie and Austin. Kylie was born 10 weeks early, weighing 2lbs. 10oz., and Austin was born at 37 weeks. Both babies were born early due to preeclampsia. Kylie is now three and has no lasting complications from her prematurity. Dani and her husband have made their life mission to raise awareness of prematurity and preeclampsia and she shared Kylie's NICU journey on her personal blog. She learned a wealth of information during their six-week NICU stay, and finds healing from their experience by helping and encouraging others with their story. You can find Dani on Pinterest, or email her at d.curliss@outlook.com.


  1. Thank you for posting this. My 34 weeker, now 17 months actual is sleeping in the next room and this post hits so close to home. She has no lasting health issues, thank God, but after spending a week in the hospital after my water broke at 33 weeks not knowing when my baby would be born or if she’d be able to breathe, followed by 13 long days in the NICU (short compared to some, I know, but no less harrowing) when I could only spend a few precious hours with her because I was recovering from hemorrhaging, I’ve often asked “why?” Why me? Why her? Why us? The guilt and fear is never quite as bad as the elation when she says or does something new. As frustrating as her tantrums or cranky moments can be, I am eternally grateful that she is here and can have those moments because her lungs were developed enough for her to breathe without needing oxygen support. Reading this helped bring a little peace to my heart. I fear having another baby because the risk of pprom again is high, but I know that I can handle it, because I’m already a preemie mom. Thank you for posting this. God bless you and your family.

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