Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How Preemie Moms Are Chosen by Irma Bombeck

Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. “Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint … give her Gerard. He’s used to profanity.” Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. “Give her a preemie.” The angel is curious. “Why this one, God? She’s so happy.”

“Exactly,” smiles God. “Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel.”

“But does she have the patience?” asks the angel.

“I don’t want her to have too much patience, or she’ll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she’ll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I’m going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that’s not going to be easy.”

“But Lord, I don’t think she even believes in you.”

God smiles. “No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness.”

The angel gasps, “Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?”

God nods. “If she can’t separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn’t know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says ‘mama’ for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side.”

“And what about her Patron Saint?” asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles.  

"A mirror will suffice".

Today is Prematurity Awareness Day.  Fight for Preemies, because they shouldn't have to.



I've always loved this.


I have always loved Irma Bombeck. Thank you so much for posting and helping raise awareness through the Fight for Preemies!

Susan Bearman

Love this. Erma Bombeck always got right to the heart. Today we are celebrating my 24-week twins birthday along with Prematurity Awareness day. Thanks for being part of our celebration by sharing this Bombeck piece on your blog.


I love this poem as well. It helped me cope with some things after my 29 weeker was born. I thought i'd let you know too that, unless it's just me, the poem is missing the last little bit. i think it goes, God smiles. "A mirror will suffice." I hope that your son is doing well now. Being the mom to a preemie is hard work, but believe me when I say, one day you will be able to look back on those times and smile. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. <3

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