"I am in awe of my mum's strength" - Jo's generational story

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This Mother's Day, Jo is reflecting on her mother's strength when she was born at 25 weeks in 1988, as well as celebrating her own pregnancy - she's expecting a baby girl due in May this year.

My mum went into hospital at 25 weeks pregnant on January 15th 1988. She had an ache in her back all day and the hospital was under the impression she had a suspected water infection. After hours of prodding and poking about they decided to give her one last check.

"Are you sure you are not in a lot of pain?" They asked her.

She replied, "A little bit of back ache but I'm assuming it’s the water infection."

To which the nurse said, "Well.. you’re 10cm dilated!"

My mum said what followed was a mad panic as I was born weighing 770grams. Dad arrived in his dirty work overalls, followed by hours of not knowing whether I was alive or dead. As a woman expecting my own baby now, I have no idea how my mum and dad got through that!

I was in neonatal care for almost four months; my parents visited the hospital daily and had many night time phone calls from hospital staff. They rushed through a christening with me one day with the hospital chaplain as I had contracted blood poisoning and they were concerned I wouldn't make it through the night.

But I did make it! I was finally allowed home, and mum’s maternity leave could begin (up until this point she worked every day until visiting hours began!)

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She was told that I might not swallow, I might not walk or talk, but I proved them wrong. I was a few months behind (for everything apart from talking!) But I reached every milestone.

Despite my extraordinary start in life, it ended up pretty typical; school, teenage years, and boyfriends. I ended up going to university in my late 20s and obtained a degree in psychology with criminology and criminal justice studies. I married my primary school crush in 2019 after five years together, we might look a bit odd (he's 6 foot 7 and I'm 4 foot 11) but he's my missing puzzle piece without a doubt.

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I came off birth control in 2018, as I knew I wanted to become a mother and I was concerned my early arrival may have affected things. I fell pregnant in June 2019 and January 2020, but sadly those ended in losses. Like many trying to conceive it became all consuming, and in August 2020 I decided to take my foot off the gas and try to relax. In September 2020, I noticed I was crying a lot easier than normal and a certain monthly visitor hadn't arrived!

I am now 27 weeks pregnant with a baby girl. I can't actually believe I'm here, and she is already far less impatient than her mum.

This Mother's Day means everything to me, although my girl isn't due until May, I feel I already have something to celebrate. I'm so glad that since I was born prematurely in 1988, the care and outcomes for babies has improved so much. This is thanks to organisations like Bliss who continue to take part in vital research, provide emotional support and campaign to ensure that babies are cared for to the highest possible standard.

I'm always grateful to my mum, and I am in awe of her strength for going through what she did with me. I can't wait to start my journey into motherhood.

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At Bliss, every day is Mother's Day

We want to support all the amazing mums or mother figures who are caring for babies born premature or sick and need us to be there for them. But we can only do this with your support.
Donate today to the Bliss support network