I have learned recently that people just do not understand what it's like to have a baby (in my case 2) in the hospital for almost 4 months. I've have Mimi home for a little over a month and I've taken her out to the park and supermarket. We always go before school and work rush-hour, but that doesn't mean we're the only ones in the store. I can't believe how many people are eager to come so near and sometimes touch her! I don't understand it. They see how tiny she is and can pass for a 2 week old newborn, so why would you get so close? I always explain that she's small for her age because she was born 3 months early. You would think that people would back off, but no they move in with even more interest. I don't mind answering questions because many people don't know anyone who had a preemie so early and it promotes awareness. But logically speaking, if you know the child was born 3 months early and was hospitalized, wouldn't you also know that the baby is fragile and you should keep your distance? Some may argue, "Well if the baby is that fragile, then maybe you should stay home". I'm sorry, but just because I have a baby doesn't everyone a free pass to breathe on her. I know babies are cute and bring smiles to everyone's faces, but your a complete stranger with germs and she's an infant who hasn't gotten all her shots yet. Think before you leap, right?
To help with keeping people at a distance I bought a car seat cover that has a mesh net and a solid cover to block the sun, wind, and germy strangers. Today, I went to the post office to mail a package. I took the solid cover off while we were inside and left the mesh cover over her. While I was writing the addresses down I heard "She's so cute!" from behind me. I couldn't believe this lady almost had her nose pressed up against the net to see Mimi. Really, are you kidding me? In explaining that Mimi was a preemie I said "...that's why I have the cover to keep people away from her." She sure did back up then! Next, we went over to the supermarket. This time I left the solid cover over her. Sure enough at check out a lady came up to us and tried to look at Mimi though the little bit of mesh that was left uncovered to allow air into the car seat. You could tell that she wanted me to lift the solid cover so that she could get a better look, but I did no such thing. I said my usual explanation and rolled away before she could get any other ideas. Unbelievable.
I bought the car seat cover to keep Mimi safer at the airport because it's such a crowded place. Now I'm worried that it won't be enough. Do I need to put a sign on the seat too?!?! This is one reason why I'm so happy that the March of Dimes is promoting Prematurity Awareness Month. Making others aware of the challenges babies, preemie and full-term alike, face outside of the womb is very important. We all have to do our part to keep our little ones healthy. So, when you see a car seat, with out without a cover, keep your distance knowing that taking a peek from 5 feet away is helping to keep that baby healthy because you don't know if that baby is a 28 week old preemie who fought to breathe and stay alive like my bundles of joy.