Even Miracles Take a Little Time
This week the Dáil introduced a new Bill to extend paid maternity leave by the number of weeks a baby is born prematurely. 4,500 babies are born prematurely in Ireland every year. Presently, these mothers have no choice but to begin their maternity leave while their babies are still in hospital.
At present, mothers in Ireland are entitled to 26 weeks maternity leave and 16 weeks unpaid leave which comes into effect on the date the child is born. This means that some parents whose babies are born prematurely may only have a short time at home before they have to go back to work. By then they will have very little maternity leave left to spend at home with their baby. For many mothers their maternity leave is spent leaving their tiny new born behind in the neonatal intensive care unit each night (NICU).
I took my full three days paternity leave last year when Clara was born. Since September 2016, this has increased to two weeks which is great news for new daddies.
Source: Irish Times
I got to spend three amazing days in our own home with my precious new family before going back to work. I have these memories which I will treasure forever. It is hard to imagine what life will be like before having your own children but when they are born, you can’t imagine life without them.
I remember lying in bed with Clara snuggled up asleep on my chest. It was such a wonderful feeling, bonding and getting to know my new daughter during the first few days of her life. Her mammy lay asleep beside us, recovering from never-ending cluster feeds and also from giving birth itself. Not an easy task. I witnessed it!
As I looked down at Clara sleeping peacefully, I thought, How were we allowed to leave the hospital with full responsibility for this little person? No instruction manual or anything!
I had a lump in my throat reading some experiences of parents with premature babies. It made me realise how lucky I am with Clara and I held her tightly. I can only imagine how difficult this emotional rollercoaster must be for those parents.
Pregnancy joy and excitement is suddenly replaced with scans, tests and meetings with doctors and consultants. Women waking up with their babies neither inside them nor beside them. Being discharged from hospital and having to leave your baby behind. Having to seek permission to hold your own baby and bonding and cuddling with your new baby through an incubator must be so tough. This is in addition to dealing with any possible complications that a preemie baby may have and lengthy commutes if you live far from an NICU. My sister-in-law works as a nurse in a neonatal unit and witnesses these delicate, tiny miracles on a daily basis.
A baby’s skin is more porous and thinner than an adult’s skin, meaning it can absorb substances very easily. Premature babies have a difficult enough start to life as it is without having to deal with exposure to toxins and pesticides, which may be present in some types of clothing through the bleaching, scouring and dyeing processes.
From the inception of Clara & Carl we decided that we would stock beautiful, soft, organic, chemical free clothes for premature babies.
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