Project Update #7, 13.02.20

I have not heard back from Caz since our last correspondence regarding the nursing team and other members of staff. Since then, I have been working on the book myself alongside Gemma writing her own feature and adding to my book too – editing parts and adding details I have missed.

During this time too, I have received my copy of the book, Breath, Baby, Breath!, recommended to me by Dominic – one of the consultants who had dealt with Gem and I during our time in Oxford. So far, the book has provided statistics on the subjects of preterm labour and premature of birth, but more-so, it has given insight and/or provided the point of view of a neonatal doctor going through the experience of a neonatal patient – Janvier is a doctor-turned-patient.

However, being from the female’s POV, it highlights how 9 months, my arse needs to create the chance for readers to learn more of the male’s experience. She often refers to her husband, Keith, but with the narrative so far (given, I am on part 1 of 6) being driven by her own diary entries written at the time of the story/experience, we do not learn much of Keith’s state of mind. All we know is that he is helping with their other children, running errands. Therefore, for a man reading the book, all you can relate to is how your partner may be feeling. However, as most how-to-live-a-happy-life books say (‘The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, for example), you need to work on yourself first, so that you can work on others. In the case of preterm labour then, can the man be there for the woman to the fullest extent if he does not know how to cope with the situation himself?

It is this question that has me inspired when writing 9 months, my arse. I want people to read the book, to read the features written, not just by myself, but by others too, and hear of a variety of POVs, opinions, thoughts – ones that will 1) help the men during such times, but 2) make people aware of all the different people involved and how they too are dealing with an incredibly complex situation, both mentally and physically.

Where Breathe, Baby, Breathe! is written by a doctor, it includes more academic style features wherein the reader learns about the scientific and medical side of preterm labour too. Though this is great and insightful, and with the likes of Dominic interested in writing for 9 months, my arse, I’m hoping that my book will teach people a little about the science and medicine, however I want it more to focus on the side that Janvier even admits to not being prepared or knowledgeable about: the emotional side – the parenting side of preterm labour. The questions. How do we cope with life after, if the baby survives or if it does not? How do we cope with life inside the NICU? What if our baby is disabled? Will we be OK mentally? Physically? Though there are plenty of resources out there, and plenty given to you while you are experiencing the premature birth of your child and the build-up to it, there is not enough on how your life will be affected by it. There is not enough on how to handle life after: how to handle the bad, but also where to find the good.

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