What Not To Read

Once London arrived, I was intent on researching preemies because I did not know a thing about them. The very kind nurses gave me a book on day two or three, cannot remember exactly, but I took it with interest. It was The Preemie Primer, written by an MD who gave birth to preemie triplets. Interested in what I would find out about our situation, I opened to the prologue and started reading, right there in the NICU. But how could any brand new parent of a preemie get past this passage detailing the very premature birth of one of the author’s triplets:

And then the worst words that I have ever heard, “Do you want to hold your son? He is dying.”

That is the first sentence of a paragraph. I did not make it to the second, at least not right then. I started to cry and quickly shut the book and put it aside, not touching it for weeks to come. Now, half a year later, I think I can enjoy what this book has to offer. However, I would not recommend it to brand new parents of preemies. At the very least, I would skip the prologue altogether. The thing about a book like this and others (like What to Expect When You’re Expecting) that aim to guide you through a critical time in your life, is that they do present all the worst case scenarios. There are good intentions, I am sure, but reading through them all is like getting on WebMD and self-diagnosing every time you come down with a weird rash or a string of very serious headaches. In other words, reading them can do more harm than good.

That said, Preemie Primer seems to be enjoyed by many readers, so I do intend to read relevant passages in the coming days, weeks, and months. Just don’t crack it open when there is even a chance of hearing those same words (quoted above) spoken to you.

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