Needs vs. Desires

Rebecca Highton by Rebecca Highton Additional Needs

Rebecca Highton

Rebecca Highton

I am a mum of twins, one has special needs. I enjoy blogging about life and the reality of parenting.

I was going to name this article ‘why it is never just a cold’ yet realised as I was writing it that the message goes so much further.

When a baby is born, the last thing you want is for them to catch an illness, whether that is a cough or a cold, a sickness bug or anything else for that matter.

For parents of a baby born premature, this is a terrifying prospect.

The ‘little cough’ or ‘snuffle’ you have can be fatal.

Even if you don’t stay for long, simply being in the same room as a premature baby, and possibly spreading your germs can be catastrophic.

The little cough or snuffle for you can be bronchiolitis for a premature baby. It can then lead to pneumonia.

That tiny cough that you take cough drops for means a hospital stay for us.

It means needing extra oxygen, or a higher flow of oxygen if, like Alfie, your premature baby goes home on oxygen.

It means nasal cannulas and feeding tubes and heart rate monitors and everything else we fought so long and hard to leave behind.

For a premature baby to fight illness means using energy they do not have, which means losing weight.

A baby that has no energy to even eat goes downhill at a terrifying rate.

The weight loss leads to a lack of energy, which stops them from eating which causes them to lose more weight and energy, and so on, in a vicious cycle that is heart-breaking to see.

The only break is the feeding tube which they need but then you have to teach them to eat again and prevent them from becoming reliant on it.

Illness for a premature baby truly is life-threatening.

It can sneak up on them and lead to rapid deterioration. The loss of fluids and nutrients, the lack of energy.

Everything is a catalyst.

You do everything you can to prevent any illness, but it is all dependant on the people around you.

The hygiene and cleanliness you try to control with endless bottles of hand-sanitizer, the constant hand washing, and avoidance of enclosed and busy places are fruitless if those around you disregard your wishes and decisions and chose to visit with an illness.

It does not matter if it hasn’t affected you very much, the illness you have is an illness non the less.

Choosing to visit when you are ill, becoming ill or have recently been ill is never a good idea.

Parents are not asking you to stay away to be mean, or awkward.

They are not being over the top and they are certainly not doing it to be selfish and keep their baby to themselves.

They are doing it to keep their baby safe and healthy.

They are doing it to stop the setbacks and hospital trips.

They are doing it to take care of their child.

They are putting their child’s health and wellbeing above the desires of others who simply want to see the baby.

They are focusing on their child’s needs instead of the desires of others.


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