The Joy of a Hug

Jess McGlynnNovember 15, 2013

I’m linking this post up with Kylie at Not Even A Bag of Sugar.  It’s funny, I sat down to write this post before I knew that the theme for World Prematurity Day was ‘Give A Hug’.  World Prematurity Day is on the 17th November and a number of organisations around the world, including Bliss are running the campaign #giveahug to raise awareness of issues faced by premature babies and their families.

Neither of my children were born prematurely so I can’t speak from experience about the importance of these issues.  However, Kylie’s little boy Joseph was born around the same time as Meg and it was one of the first blogs I ever read, if you want to find out more information then you can visit her blog 🙂

So, back to hugs.  I am not a big physical contact person.  I always feel awkward about hugging, even close friends and I hate when you meet someone that you know semi-well and there’s the whole moment when you aren’t sure if you should hug them or not.  It makes me anxious just thinking about it! 

But, I love hugging my children.  I loved hugging them when they were teeny tiny and gave off the beautiful baby smell that all newborns seem to emit.  I love hugging them when they are snuggly and sleepy and although I complain about it, I would happily let them fall asleep on me most days.  Meg is a big hugger.  She can’t cope if she see anyone having a cuddle and she isn’t involved, she has to push and wriggle her way right into the middle of it.

If she comes into our bed in the middle of the night, she won’t stay on the side, she has to be in the middle.  I guess to make sure that she gets the full cuddle treatment from both myself and my Other Half.  Several times we have removed her from our bed and taken her back to her own only to wake the next morning and find her asleep at the foot of our bed.  She loves physical contact and she loves to be near other people, preferably right in the centre!  I like that she is so cuddly, it’s her way of showing affection to us and it’s very sweet.

Eli, on the other hand, has always been the complete opposite.  He is very much like me.  When he was a little baby he couldn’t sleep unless he was in his cot.  He never fell asleep on us, he’d physically arch his back and pull away from whoever was holding him.  He didn’t like to be picked up unless he had initiated it and he certainly wouldn’t tolerate being cuddled by anyone.  It didn’t bother me to begin with but as time went on I thought more and more, it would be nice if just once Eli would come and sit on my knee and allow me to cuddle him rather than the grappled cuddles we did have, with me trying to hug him and him scrambling away as quickly as he could!

Last month, for the first time in his entire two and a half years, Eli climbed into bed with us, snuggled in and fell asleep.  Last week he sat on my knee and listened to an entire story without pushing himself away and more recently he has sitting on my knee and falling asleep on me at lunchtime.  You don’t realise how much a simple action can bring so much happiness.  It’s like he’s finally realised how nice it can be to give and receive a hug!

I know that Eli loves us.  I don’t need a hug to tell me that but there is something about an unprompted show of affection which gives you a lovely warm feeling inside, that sensation where you think your heart might burst with joy.  I know that even though Eli might not have appreciated it, I could have picked him up and given him a hug if I had wanted to but it wouldn’t have been the same.

15 million babies are born prematurely each year around the world, 60,000 of them in the UK.  Most parents of these premature babies can’t hug their baby for days or even weeks after they are born.  I can’t imagine how hard that is, to not have the opportunity to pick up your baby and give them a big squeezy cuddle.

What I do know, now from experience, is that the first time you truly get to hug your baby, and the first time you get that cuddle reciprocated, is truly a very special moment indeed.

You can join in with Bliss and the #GiveAHug campaign by tweeting the following message on 17 November:

‘I am supporting #wpd to help the 15 million babies born too soon each year with @Blisscharity #giveahug’

or by updating your Facebook status:

‘I am giving a hug on World Prematurity Day in support of the 15 million babies born too soon throughout the world each year.  Help us raise awareness of the serious issues faced by them and their families by sharing and liking and by giving a hug #giveahug

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