Blogs     Baby      Toddler     Special Needs     Local Parents    

Ways Being a Preemie Mom Has Changed Me

preemie, prematurity, mom life, preemie mom, preemie dad, preemie life, motherhood, parenthood, fatherhood, chance, blog mom,  parent voices, hudson valley, nicu, nicu life

It’s difficult to say what type of parent I would have been if I had given birth to a full-term baby, but I know that I had some ideas for what I wanted to be. Some of these notions had to do with the type of person I was (very type A), others were a result of our battle with infertility. Who knows if these predictions would have come true, but your experiences shape you, and I am certain that being the mom to a preemie has changed me - for better or worse. 


  • I allow exploration and welcome adventure. I always thought that I would be more anxious when it comes to more adventurous activities, wanting to wrap my child in bubble wrap and never let him leave the house. In reality, Flynn is allowed to jump, climb, and run wherever and whenever he pleases. Of course, there will not be any “I can fly” moments off the dresser; we’ll leave that to Peter Pan. However, I love to watch him climb from this to that, run circles around the coffee table, or spin until he can’t walk in a straight line. I know the line between a scraped knee and a broken bone, but mostly, I know Flynn’s bravery and resilience. Being in the NICU and watching him overcome so much showed me that, not only is he determined to defy odds, he’s capable of so much more than most give him credit for. Plus, as a toddler, you can see the pride on his shining face. So, a little bump on the head? Please! He was so excited to try climbing that hill all by himself, that it didn’t even bother him. If there are tears, then he knows that mommy is here, and some kisses will patch him up so that he can try again. 

  • I am hyper-focused on giving my undivided attention. Of course, it is important to give your child your complete attention whenever possible, but my reasons for doing so stem all the way back to our NICU days. There were days that passed before I met my son for the first time, hours where he was scared, crying, and without his mama. In the days that followed, there were hours where I couldn’t be by his side and other times where I was there but couldn’t help him. So now, he yells for me and I’m there in a flash. If I’m busy with something else that needs my attention in that moment, I make sure to tell him “I see you. You’re the most important.” I feel the need to make up for lost time. 

  • I read labels and am more conscious of wellness. Having a baby that is medically fragile, and then having to be so careful with his health outside of the NICU, helped me become more aware of ingredients inside the things that we use. If I am trying so hard to keep this little human safe, why am I using dangerous chemicals to clean our home and bodies and eating food full of things that I cannot pronounce? To some extent, I tried to shop chemical-free and organic before Flynn was born, but now I must stay healthy for someone else who needs me so I’m more serious about making this a priority. In a future post, I’ll discuss more about our favorite products and the easiest ways to begin the transition to clean living.

  • We emphasize positivity and making a difference. I believe that no matter what, our lives would be centered around love and kindness because it was that way before Flynn was born. Taking this path, however, made me reevaluate life and phaseout any toxicity and fill our environment with positive people, experiences, and items that make us happy. I feel that huge life events, especially those that involve crisis, help put things into perspective, and this can be implemented in many ways. This was our family’s way, and doing so has had so many benefits, including the support given for us to make a difference. We’ve had the opportunity to research, learn, advocate, teach, and give back. Without being the mother of a preemie, I would have never been able to have the confidence that I do now or the ability to reflect this in my parenting. 

  • We make messes - lots of them. As someone who has always been very neat, clean, and has been diagnosed with OCD, I had nightmares about the messes that my future child (or children) would make. Of course, it is a natural and unavoidable part of childhood, but I expected to want complete control over the chaos. The truth is, I know how quickly all these memories could have been stolen from us and I like making memories in the messes. I love fingerpaint all over my kitchen, glitter on the carpet, stickers on my furniture, and playdough in my hair. We did all those things together. They make our family complete. They make our house a home.

With small beginnings comes appreciation for what everyone else believes are little things – each gram gained, every single breath taken, even every dirty diaper. After all that we’ve been through as a family, it’s easy to only focus on the negative, but over time I’ve learned to look at our experience as a gift, not as a punishment. Seeing these “little things” as major goals accomplished and learning to look through a positive lens has changed the views I had for myself about parenting. I choose to believe I’ve been changed for the better.


Underestimated Strength is a collection of posts all about our journey through life as we navigate preemie parenting after the NICU. You can read my posts here every Tuesday! Also, feel free to follow me on Instagram, where I speak freely about our story and advocacy.

Do you have any questions, comments or topic suggestions? Contact me via email:

More Pet Tips

Other posts by this this blogger

Prematurity in the Media

Mar 19, 2019

With premature birth being a huge concern in this country, it’s important to spread knowledge and awareness. Can the entertainment insudtry help with this?

Stepping Into Early Intervention

Mar 12, 2019

As a new mom, I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew this wasn’t “normal.” When you don't know what to do, where can you seek help?

Small Steps for Self-Care

Feb 26, 2019

How can you include self-care into your life without it feeling like work?

Mom Guilt: What is it and what can we do about it?

Feb 19, 2019

mom•guilt /mahm-gilt/ (noun): the unhappy feelings caused by thinking or feeling like you did something wrong, like missing your child blink, not having time to make teacher gifts, or forgetting that they don’t like scrambled eggs this week.

The Stages of Preemie Parenting

Feb 12, 2019

How can the stages of grief apply to the NICU experience?

How Choosing My Words Changed My Parenting

Feb 5, 2019

The words that we choose are more important to children than we realize. How can vocabulary be changed to create a more positive environment?

Five Toys for Babies and Toddlers That We Would Be Lost Without

Jan 29, 2019

We take our toys very seriously at our house. These are some of our favorites! What are yours?

Life as a Work-From-Home Mom

Jan 22, 2019

I'm sharing my personal experience of what it's like as a mother who does double-duty with work and parenting all day.

How I Created a Sensory Routine for My Toddler

Jan 15, 2019

Did you know that quick additions and modifications to your current routine can create a more regulated sensory environment for your child? Check out these tips to incorporate sensory activities into your every day!

Home with a Preemie During Flu & RSV Season

Jan 8, 2019

Premature babies have immature immune systems and get sick more easily than babies born at term. Learn the precautions that can be taken to minimize risk.

New Year...New Me?

Jan 1, 2019

What makes a New Year's resolution?

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

Dec 25, 2018

If you know a family that is in the NICU during the holidays, here are a few ideas to make their days merry and bright.

It's Beginning to Look, Smell, Taste, Sound, and Feel A Lot Like Christmas

Dec 18, 2018

This year, I organized a Twelve Days of Christmas Crafting Extravaganza for Flynn. Each activity is sensory focused but is also so fun and, of course, holiday-themed.

NICU to Now

Dec 11, 2018

After being admitted to the hospital at 27-weeks pregnant with a sudden and severe case of preeclampsia, Kristina's pregnancy went from amazing to scary. At 28-weeks, she gave birth to her son Flynn via emergency c-section. This is Flynn's story.