Yesterday I came across a song that truly inspied me.
I could not find whether the reference to premature birth is to Reba Mcentire’s own life, but it does resonate with me. I was, after all, born three months too early.
Often, survivorship refers to people who have endured childhood or domestic abuse, have survived serious illnesses like cancer, or stuff like natural disasters. Babies are too young to remember the hurdles they overcome as they survive the neonatal intensive care unit, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t survivors nonetheless. Preemies beat the odds, after all.
I remember when someone asked me what experience I was proudest of overcoming, I responded that it was premature birth, because without having overcome that experience, I wouldn’t be alive. Even my suicidal crisis in 2007 doesn’t compare to this, as I was not physically close to death then.
I am very happy to finally have found a song about a woman born too early. I know I got a CD for my birthday with songs on it about a boy with a birth defect, but these are written from the father’s perspective. It is hard to find former preemies even on large social networking sites like Facebook – I created a group for them and no-one except for the friends I added would join. There is a group on Yahoo, but it isn’t active at all. By listening to this song, I feel validated that prematurity was something I have survived, yet also encouraged to move beyond mere survivorship.
There is not much known about the effects of premature birth on the surviving children. Well, it is known that many develop autism and related conditions, but I mean stuff like attachment disorder. There is a lot more research on the traumatic effects on the parents of preemies. This frustrates me. I know that trauma before the age of three is hardly taken seriously, because a child is too young to remember it and those who claim to remember, are often accused of faking. I agree that memories before age three are rare, but that doesn’t mean that experiences from very early life can’t affect attachment and later personality development.
The important message in this song is however to be proud of your survivor status and to move on and reclaim yur life. I try to do that and am totally happy with this new music find.