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For some parents, a premature birth is a painful memory.

Parents may feel a range of emotions. For example, they may experience stress when they realize that nothing is happening as planned. This feeling can be amplified by the fear that something will happen to the baby, or by the sense of being completely overwhelmed. Mothers also experience guilt, believing they are responsible for what is happening. Some parents feel bad that they do not immediately love their baby, who is so different from what they had imagined. They must grieve the perfect pregnancy, normal birth and healthy baby that they had expected. All these feelings are normal and should be accepted and expressed. If need be, parents should feel free to speak about their feelings to doctors, nurses, or a psychologist. Associations for parents of preemies also offer support groups.