Few patients in the neonatal intensive care unit make me laugh. Many of the children are ill and struggling to live. However, while recently rounding on the patients, our entire team suffered from uncontrolled giggles. A five day old infant was adorned with earrings, had a lavish pink and white outfit, and her tiny face was painted with make-up. She appeared ready to hit the runway.
At first, this struck me as bizarre. Why would someone force such a young child to leap in to adolescence so prematurely?
After taking a few moments and speaking with the mother, I understood why. She had multiple previous miscarriages. The anticipation for this child has been nearly unbearable. Upon the child’s birth, the mother felt such an extreme sense of joy and she wanted to express her emotions by treating her baby like a princess.
This style of child rearing may not be favored by all, but I would much rather the world suffer from too much love than the opposite.