Premature babies: myths and reality

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Does our attitude to a baby depend on the way we value his health? Do we find similar abilities in full-term babies and premature ones?


Does
our attitude to a baby depend on the way we value his health? Do we
find similar abilities in full-term babies and premature ones? Pay
attention: questions concern not real baby abilitites, but their
estimation.

It turns out that prior information about baby health influences our attitude
to a baby, following experiments confirm this:

Experiment # 1. Adults are shown a videotape with games of two babies
of same sex and age. They are told that one baby was born in-time and
another one is premature. Adults describe the first one, as a bright,
active, physically developed baby, and call the second one passive,
weak and “hidebound”.

Experiment # 2. Adults are given a possibility to play with both film
heroes. They show a special care while communication with a premature
baby: they avoid holding him, offer him primitive games and simplest
toys, although his behavior doesn`t differ from a full-term infant`s
behavior.

Here we can see a typical (both for parents and other people)
“premature infant stereotype”, when they treat physical and psychical
baby possibilities as restricted deliberately, and communication with
him is build according to these ideas. Such approach has nothing in
common with care and attention, necessary to a weakened baby; and its
harm is in the fact that underestimation of baby abilities leads to
unjustified detraction of requirements, and this may restrict activity
and slow down baby development.

It is indicative that steadiness of “premature infant stereotype”
depends not on a real baby maturity, but on adults` level of knowledge
about his development peculiaritites. One of tasks of this article - is
to give mothers and fathers necessary information and help them to form
principles of communication with their premature baby. We would like to
give you several more advices, concerning the way to build relations
with doctors and overcome family troubles, connected with premature
baby birth.

Start with yourself

Don`t blame anyone. Quite often analysis of passing of pregnancy and
delivery is replaced by a search for guilty persons in a family. Thus,
people sometimes try to cope with anxiety, fear, feeling of
back-breaking responsibility for a baby. Usually people, disposed to
psychological violence (manipulations, blackmail, disregard, insults)
act this way.

Most often, some of family members blames a young mother of her
careless behavior during pregnancy; then negative forecasts appear:
“You are a bad mother, you`re irresponsible, it`s dangerous to entrust
a baby to you”. Sometimes they blame father (”You took bad care of your
pregnant wife!”), grandmother.

When you have to face such accusations, know: first of all offender
counts on your painful reaction. You need to repulse him resolutely.
Try to discuss a question of mutual support with all family members,
clear out everyone`s position and expectations. Remember: you should
speak about present moment, not remembering past offences.

Be attentive to your feelings. Post-natal depression can develop in a
mother right during first weeks of baby life, when his emotional
contact with surrounding world is being established. According to
various data, from 20 to 40% of women are subjected to it. Probability
of its appearance is even higher after premature birth, in connection
with anxiety for baby life and health. What shall you do, if you start
suffering from depression? Don`t allow yourself concentrating on
negative emotions, try to analyse your feelings. For this, for example,
it`s useful to answer following questions:

-    How much my anxiety is grounded?

-    Do I need support, whom should I expect it from?

-    Which pastime brings me relief and joy now?

-    How do I see my future baby: whom he resembles, what`s his character?

-    How do I imagine my baby`s future?



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