In September last year Warwick University published a study on the relationship between preterm birth and low adult wealth. The researchers found that premature born adults were more likely to have a decreased intelligence and be bad at maths, which often impacted on their income.
When I first read about the study, I asked myself the question, the same question that I have asked since my first child was born; what kind of a life will they be able to make for themselves? I know it is not just parents of premature babies who ask this question but perhaps we ask ourselves with added concern.
Education is quite a hot topic in our household, mostly because my husband and I have quite split views on the best path for our children. What we do keep reminding ourselves though is that ultimately we both want same outcome with regards to education, which is that they reach their full potential and we are both willing to encourage them to do so.
My children do amaze me every day with their achievements. I learnt long ago to throw out the development checklist and ignore the development of other children around me (even the ones born months later) because my children, to get a metaphorical and slushy, have had to climb from the bottom of a much taller mountain. I don’t want them to use that as an excuse though, I don’t want them to still make excuses for themselves when they are adults, because they were born early. “Sorry Miss, I know you’ve given me and E, but I was born early, can you take this into consideration and maybe make it an A” or “I know I missed that bill payment, any chance we can waiver the late fee as I was born really early and almost died”, there has to be a point where we all get over this doesn’t there?
You see, I struggled with my early education. I wasn’t born early, I was two weeks late and maybe that’s another idea for a research study there. It wasn’t until secondary school that I felt happier in my surroundings, but then, I failed to give myself a big kick up the backside I needed and crack on and study. I know, I know, perhaps I am worried about my children failing and worrying about their education because I felt like I failed at school. But isn’t that what parenting is all about, trying to teach our children not to make the same mistakes we did?
I always hoped I’d pop out one of those child geniuses. You know, the ones that teach themselves to read, write poetry and take their math GCSE five years early. And perhaps that is where my own hang up is stopping me from enjoying them right now. I am sure that parents everywhere are shaking their heads at me because I just don’t get it, it’s not about that, it should be about their happiness. As much as I’d like to I cannot guarantee them a lifetime of happiness, all I can do is give them a happy home and that is where my focus should be. Not trying to get them to sit down and learn their ABC, but playing with them, adoring them and us all enjoying life together.