33 Things I’ve Learned In My First Year as a Mom of a Premature Baby

Roman at 1 day old vs Roman at 1 year old. © Mia Francis-Poulin

It’s been a few years since I wrote this, and I had it on my old blog, Raising Roman. Since that blog’s no longer on the web, and Roman is now 3, I’ve decided to republish this post on Medium.

August 3rd is like my son’s second birthday and it’s filled with emotion for me. It’s his original due date, and at this time last year, I was a total wreck to say the least. This year, with the NICU behind us, I’m taking time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned this past year as Roman’s mom.

  1. It’s okay to cry.
  2. Never apologize for the things you’re feeling. You’re not Superwoman and you can’t save the world.
  3. Don’t forget to shave every once in a while. (Seriously, girl.)
  4. Go out with your friends when they make an effort, because over time, they may stop trying, but your real friends will try in the first place, and they will understand.
  5. Don’t close yourself off to new opportunities.
  6. Do something you enjoy every day.
  7. Read.
  8. Shower every once in a while. The people you interact will really thank you.
  9. Lean on your spouse when things get rough, and be a support for them, too. Be a team through everything.
  10. It’s okay if you have to restart the washing machine a few times before clothes migrate to the dryer. At least you’re trying to keep up with the household.
  11. Make sure to enjoy the “normal” moments. It’s easy to get caught up in keeping track of milestones, shuttling from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment, but take a moment to bask in the beauty of your child’s smile.
  12. This won’t last forever. Make the best of where you are now and look forward to the sunshine.
  13. Take time to smell the sunflowers. (Or bluebonnets. We’re Texan.)
  14. Sometimes the doctors do know what they’re talking about.
  15. Sometimes there are no answers.
  16. Sometimes the only answer is to wait.
  17. Patience is really a virtue and a learned skill, but once you learn some patience, it’s a beautiful way to live.
  18. Yes, you can sleep through “all those alarms,” so make sure to stay vigilant.
  19. Be kind to your nurses.
  20. Be kind to everyone. We’re all going through something: we’ve all got battles.
  21. Maintain perspective.
  22. Never forget where you came from. You are making progress.
  23. Don’t be devastated by setbacks. You made the journey once, you can do it again.
  24. Eat a well-balanced meal. Vending machine snacks are only full of preservatives and go straight to your hips, but not in a good, Kardashian way.
  25. You are not less of a woman because you gave birth early. That was just a matter of physiology.
  26. You are not less of a woman because you only got to nurse three times. That’s three beautiful memories to cherish.
  27. You are not less than a woman because you stopped pumping breastmilk at 8 months. That’s 8 whole months of pumping around the clock. You’re a rockstar for that.
  28. You are not less of a mother because you work. You have to provide for your baby.
  29. You are not less of a mother because you didn’t work for a year. You were focused on your most important project: Your family.
  30. It’s okay that you questioned God’s existence. You found your way eventually.
  31. It’s not your fault that Roman got sick.
  32. Try every day to overcome your fear.
  33. And if you accomplish none of those things, it’s okay to just do one thing: Breathe.

Mia Francis-Poulin owns R + A Creative Co., a boutique digital marketing agency geared towards helping female entrepreneurs refine their brand positioning and establish smart marketing strategies. She’s also the host of Mama, Build Your Empire! A weekly podcast for mom bosses who are building their business while raising their kids with special needs.