A protective instinct for children

Published 8:18 pm Monday, April 28, 2014

When you become a parent, your sense of protectiveness for all children suddenly seems to explode.

Other parents will know what I’m talking about. I would argue that you could be a kindergarten teacher for 20 years, but still wouldn’t experience it if you’ve never had kids of your own.

Maybe there is a chemical or biological change that takes place, sharpening your emotions when it comes to any child, because you think that you’re a parent to someone like them and they need to be protected from the world.

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Saturday’s March of Dimes’ March for Babies saw a lot of people come together in downtown Suffolk and share this phenomenon.

Not everyone there was a parent, of course, but there was certainly a sense of solidarity — that everyone was focused on supporting the one in every eight American babies born prematurely.

The human species has evolved to understand intrinsically that children need love, support and guidance to grow into adulthood successfully.

But preemies need so much more besides. They need the most cutting-edge practices and procedures modern medical science can deliver, and that doesn’t come cheap.

Funds raised by the March for Babies help pay for this, and the awareness raised goes hand in hand with it. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant mortality.

Saturday’s event at Constant’s Wharf enjoyed perfect weather, and the march, as well as raising money and awareness, was for some participants an act of remembrance.

There’s no sadder story than that of a parent who has lost an infant to premature birth, or to so-called crib death.

On the flipside, there’s no more inspiring story than a baby that teeters on the edge after being born too soon, only to overcome — with the help of modern medicine — and thrive.

The children at the March for Babies that were born prematurely, but you might not know that from an outsider’s perspective.

The battle for parents to help them beat development and health problems often continues, but the young are resilient and the children themselves take the gift they’ve been given and run with it.