Having a child is an incredible journey, but for some parents, that journey has a rough start. A baby born too early is called “premature,” and is often in critical condition as soon as it arrives in the world. Some preemies can spend months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) because being strong enough to go home with mom and dad. The lives of the parents are chaotic, stressful, and uncertain, leaving many feeling helpless and heartbroken.
But the smile of then 5-day-old Freya Vinje is helping other parents to cope with their fears, her hope and happiness radiating in spite of her delicate circumstances.
While she battled for every breath and every beat of her tiny heart, she was still a fighter, living for each moment and spreading joy one second at a time.
Mom captured this incredible moment and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. The photograph circled the web, and parents from near and far were able to share their own stories – some of them going through it recently – and some remembering their own child’s first days in the NICU. It has brought parents together, and most importantly, it has show people that they aren’t alone.
Finding comfort, new friends, and being able to share their heartaches with others allows parents to get through those difficult first days or months and hold onto hope.
Little Freya turned 2 in November of 2016, but her smiling face at just 5 days of life will live on for decades to come.
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