MasterChef star Jock Zonfrillo opened up to fans today, revealing his family’s private struggle in a touching Instagram post recognising World Prematurity Day.
The father of four took to Instagram this morning with an incredibly raw post revealing that his second youngest, baby boy Alfie, spent five weeks in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) after he was born two months early.
In a bid to raise awareness for World Prematurity Day, Jock gave a touching account of the family’s experience of watching Alfie struggle in his early weeks of life.
“Our family took a moment this morning to acknowledge a day that we hope most families don’t have to think about - World Prematurity Day,” the 44-year-old wrote alongside a snap of baby Alfie being treated in the ward.
“Our little Alfie was born two months early, weighed 1.2kgs, and spent the first 5 weeks of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). He’s now a happy healthy little boy, just the same as most other 2.5-year-olds. Those very difficult weeks sometimes feel like a lifetime ago, and on days like today feel very vivid to us.”
He went on to explain he was sharing the experience in a bid to get his 153k followers to reach out to those in their life who have struggled with premature birth – whether they were lucky enough to see it through, or tragically lost their bubs in the fight.
“If you know any families who have lost their little ones through prematurity or stillborn, for those who are in NICU now, living with the impact of prematurity, or are lucky enough to have their healthy bub at home with them, reach out to them today,” he urged in the lengthy caption.
He went on to pass on some advice he and Lauren had been given at the time.
“When Alfie was in NICU we were given some words of advice from other parents and midwives, and learnt some along the way ourselves:
“Take one day at a time, don’t look too far in front or worry about the future, just enjoy each moment you can cuddle or touch your little one.
“There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re not by their bed 24/7. Life keeps moving forward and sometimes you just need a night on the couch at home or to sleep in, that’s ok.
“Try not to ask the Dr when your little one is going home, the answer always seems so far away and uncertain.
“Invite friends and family in to see your little one (if allowed). People tend to stay away and you can feel isolated and like there’s no celebration or joy around your bub.
“You have no choice but to be in NICU which is filled with unwell babies, your friends/family may not be able to handle this and their choice to not visit should be respected.
“Stay strong between the two of you - it’s ok to talk and dream about your little one’s life even if you’re not 100% certain that it will be possible.
“And be kind to the midwives, they’re literally keeping your little one alive.”
The shattering, but uplifting post unsurprisingly struck a nerve with followers, who thanked the chef for his wise advice and generous sharing.
“Such wise words,” one fan wrote.
“Thank you for sharing,” another wrote.
“Beautiful post. Well said,” another agreed.
World Prematurity Day
World Prematurity Day is held on the 17th of November, and is regarded as an essential day is raising awareness around premature birth which impacts an estimated 15 million babies each year according to the day’s website.
Preterm birth complications are also the leading reason for death among children under five.
As Jock referenced the experience of nursing a premature baby in a hospital ward can be incredibly isolating for new parents, with awareness a key part of the day’s objectives.
Jock’s post comes just weeks after he welcomed the latest addition to his family, baby Isla Generosa Zonfrillo in October.
Never miss a thing. Sign up to Yahoo Lifestyle’s daily newsletter.
Or if you have a story idea, email us at email@example.com.