My daughter was two months old on the day that I discovered that I had missed her first bath.
And her second.
And her third.
And I don’t actually know how many others because I was too embroiled in my emotions, simultaneously outraged and heartbroken, to ask.
Scarlette was born at twenty five weeks. At one pound, eight point six ounces she fell into the category of “Micro-Preemie” and she was fragile.
Her skin was stretched paper thin and a web of raw nerve endings, having never completed their development in the womb, left it raw to the touch. So we didn’t. Touch her, that is. Not in the way that nature and nuture propel you to touch your baby, with a gentle stroke against baby soft skin.
Micro-preemies require a harshness befitting of the world they entered too early upon exit from the comfort and shelter of a mother’s body. We could let her grasp our finger, or cup our hand firmly and fully around her legs, exerting pressure that seemed at odds with the frailness of her body. A soft touch would cause alarms to ring out as she lost her breath, her undeveloped nerve endings unable to cope with the sensation.
I was a mother who could not caress her child.
I’m so honored to be sharing our story with Hand To Hold, an organization dedicated to providing support to parents of preemies. Please click here to read the rest of this post on Hand To Hold’s blog.