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

The Loss of a “Normal” Delivery

In a recent conversation with another preemie mom, I got to thinking about how I felt when I missed out on the “normal” delivery experience surrounding my first two children’s births.  I grew up terrified of giving birth, but I still had fantasies about how perfectly everything would go – resulting in a short and painless delivery, of course.

Well, after the traumatic experiences surrounding my 21-weeker’s birth (including a near-delivery alone in my home, bulging membranes, hours of fear and uncertainty and waiting, being life-flighted alone out of state, and then making difficult decisions on the spot), I spent the next 2 1/2 years frustrated that there were no women whom I could relate to regarding my birth story.  Giving birth is a significant right of passage for women and we love to talk about our experiences.  I felt so cheated because I had been through so much, but my experience was so singular that it was not easy to talk to other women about it.  And I knew nothing of the third trimester, feeling my baby move around inside me, being uncomfortably pregnant, feeling contractions and excitedly being driven to the hospital, pushing, or holding my perfect baby in my arms.

When I delivered my 27-weeker I STILL new nothing of these experiences, and my feelings of loss were compounded.  I felt almost like less of a woman because of what I was missing out on.  The number of women I knew who understood me was zero to none and I felt so alone!  I was alone, I was jealous, and I was sometimes bitter.  All around me women were having perfect babies and perfect deliveries.  I wondered, would my body ever be able to fulfill its womanly purpose?

Time and new friendships helped me to accept my limitations and find peace in what I could do.  I gained a new appreciation for life, for children, and for people who experience such difficult things.  I wouldn’t trade my personal growth for an easier road.  I’m grateful for what I have been given.

What have you learned or how have you changed because of your exposure to prematurity?  Please share your thoughts with us in the comments!

Afton Mower About Afton Mower

After Mower (UT) lost her firstborn son at 21 weeks.  Her daughter was born a year and a half later at 27 weeks.  The NICU was overwhelming and isolating and it was through those two experiences she was led to found this social hub for parents to find the support they needed. Afton also gave birth to another daughter, born two days overdue after four months of strict bedrest. She believes it is a tender experience to hold a special baby in your arms when his spirit returns to his heavenly home, a miracle to watch tiny babies survive the risks of prematurity and a blessing to hold a healthy full-term baby after months of difficulty and sacrifices.


  1. I’d really like to hear more about how through “time and friendships you were able to accept your limitations and find peace.” I think this is a hard thing for a number of women in your same situation. I for one would benefit from hearing what you have to say about it. 🙂

    Thanks for your posts. Your site is great.

    • heather fludd says:

      your words and stories are so encouraging to me. I was diagnosed preeclampsic a few days ago at 30 weeks and some days. on bed rest right now. We had planned on giving birth in water naturally with my mom and hubbby there are a local birth center. Now we are looking at probably delivering a preemie soon probably c section… definately nothing I have dreamed about for as long as I can remember. I have felt guilty for my inner pain about the loss of my experience… my birth. although i know what is most important… I would be lieing if I told you that I don’t feel a little cheated. But today and tomorrow…. and until my miles is in my arms, I will seek to develop another strategy… another plan and try to make this experience ours. I will rejoice in the lord and I will celebrate each milestone with my family.

  2. I feel the exact same way..I question everyday what I did wrong and why I wasn’t able to have the same blissful experience that everyone else does. What was so flawed about me? I hope that in time I can learn to cope but for now it is a minute to minute, hour to hour struggle.

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