Interview with Kasey Mathews, author of Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood

Monday, October 29, 2012
When was the last time you cried all the way through a book—out of compassion, out of joy, out of awe, or because you were laughing? Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood is that kind of book. It’s an emotional feast everyone will enjoy.

Kasey Mathews poured her heart and soul into recounting the experience of birthing her second child at just twenty-five weeks. Her horror, her fears, the tribulations of raising Andie, and her own journey of finding inner strength, the willingness to be open to new experience, and the power of hope. Her memoir is on a five-star streak . . . we just knew you’d like to meet her!

WOW: Hi Kasey, welcome to The Muffin. We know you’ve been on a whirlwind tour filled with radio and television interviews; thank you for taking the time to share with us today.

Having your daughter at just twenty-five weeks was a terrifying experience; in your book you mentioned wishing you had another preemie mom to sit and talk with you. But in Preemie you go beyond the hospital experience and into the whole “life” experience of raising a preemie. The final result is a book that does more than address the preemie issue, but is actually about life—our choices, our strengths, our self-doubts. How did this book develop?

Kasey: I knew right from the outset that Preemie had a much broader message to share with a much wider audience than just preemie parents. Once I began healing from my daughter’s birth (which took years and writing a book!), I began to see that her premature arrival was really just a catalyst for a much larger personal transformation. Essentially, her birth was my awakening. For others, it may be a medical diagnosis or an accident, the death of a loved one, a divorce, a move, a job change, even the birth of a healthy child. But the book is really about that moment in time when we find ourselves no longer standing in the same set of shoes, or looking at the world through the same set of eyes, and how we choose to respond and move forward.

WOW: I really enjoyed seeing the organic unfolding of your strengths and the trusting of your own intuition. It is as if Andie’s arrival opened up a whole new path for you. How has your personal connection to “self” changed through these past twelve years?

Kasey: There were so many amazing “gifts” that accompanied Andie’s birth, but one of the greatest would have to be my realization that we’ve all been put here on earth to learn and grow and broaden as human beings. I’ve come to see that every moment of life, from holding a newborn baby to a trip to the grocery store, is a learning experience. Because I’m always on the look out for these “life-lessons” I guess I’ve become very self-aware and tuned into how I react and respond to everything and everyone around me.

WOW: You really open up in this book and share some of your inner thoughts during that time that some people might think “un-motherly.” I appreciated this willingness to honestly speak what was in your mind at the time because, lets face it, when we are frightened and stressed our thoughts are not always apple-pie wholesome. What demons did you need to face while deciding just how much of your inner thoughts and feelings to include in the book?

Kasey: It was really never a choice how much to share or not to share because I had decided right from the outset that if I was going to write this book in a truly authentic voice, I had to pull the curtain all the way back and write without any sort of filter. That being said, I worried all along about being judged for detailing those dark and potentially hurtful thoughts and emotions. But there was no denying those feelings and I hoped that by standing up and speaking my truth, I’d give others the permission and courage to do so as well.

WOW: Let’s talk about the world of medicine. Most people choose either traditional allopathic medicine or alternative therapies. You and your husband chose a blending of the two. What would you like to say to people who have never thought of seeking healing outside the western medical tradition?

Kasey: As you read in the book, the world of alternative therapies we explored was an invaluable part of our story, and I feel certain that Andie would have never done as well as she has without them. That being said, we never abandoned traditional medicine for alternative or vice versa. I believe it's imperative to find a balance between the two and walk a course of parallel paths. I really consider the medicines complementary; that utilizing them in conjunction with each other will result in the optimal and best benefit.

WOW: Andie is now twelve; how does she feel about the book?

Kasey: It's really fun for Andie to see her story going out into the world and helping so many others. And she really seems to get it; that her story is just a part of a “bigger” story. On the other hand, when I chose to write so openly and honestly, especially about how I rejected her in the early days, it was difficult for her. But ever since she’s been little we’ve had open conversations, and I’ve tried to model the importance of “speaking our truth” rather than allowing those fears and emotions to breed and grow in the dark. So when she came right out and said, “It really hurts my feelings that you didn’t want to see me,” I was able to explain my reaction to her birth and clarify that I was so afraid to love her because I was so afraid to lose her. Interestingly, just a couple of weeks ago, Andie had the chance to visit her former NICU. After seeing a baby born at 25 weeks, weighing a little over a pound just like her, we walked out hand and hand and she said, “I get it now, Mom.” Needless to say I let out a big breath I’d been holding for quite some time!

WOW: I can only imagine the relief you must have felt! What message do you hope readers take away after reading Preemie?

Kasey: There are so many messages and lessons that I learned and shared in the book, but if I had to just one that I hope readers take away it would be: Choose love over fear.

WOW: That is a beautiful motto to live by! So, what's next? Would you like to share your work in progress?

Kasey: Actually, my next book idea floated in on the breeze this summer, but it’s so early in the process that it’s still forming. It feels like I’m just pregnant and it’s still too early to tell everyone! That being said, I will say that it will be another book that offers stories and lessons about life, just like Preemie.

WOW: I’m looking forward to it! Thank you again for visiting with us today.

Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood (Hatherleigh Press; May 2012) is available at Amazon in print and Kindle format. To learn more about Kasey and to read her blog, visit:


We’re giving away one print copy of Preemie: Lessons in Love, Life, and Motherhood (Hatherleigh Press; May 29, 2012) by Kasey Mathews. Use the Rafflecopter form below for a chance to win!

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Good luck!


Anonymous said...

A beautiful story. What a great message you are sharing with others.

Margo Dill said...

I'm a preemie mom. My daughter was born at 33.5 weeks. It was the MOST terrifying moment/month of my life. It changed me forever. (We just celebrated her 2 year old birthday on Friday!) I would love to read this book. It would probably help me heal with some of the issues that I think I still have hidden and don't want to deal with/think about. No one can truly understand what it is like to have a baby and leave it in the NICU for weeks to months for other people to take care of unless they've lived through it themselves. I also think it changes mothers differently than it does fathers, and that is something my husband and I discuss a lot. Thank you for having the courage to write this book. AND YAY! for your beautiful, twelve-year old daughter!

Denise S. said...

I love to read and this sounds very interesting.

Kimberly said...

Love books like this, I was touched by the authors message to choose love over fear.

Kirstie said...

This book would be a great read. My son was actually late, so this would give me a look at the other side of the coin. It intrigues me because it continues well past infancy.

The Turbyfill Family said...

Looking forward to reading the book - I was a preemie - born at 26 weeks (in 1975) so I'm thinking this may tell something of the experience my mom must have had.

Stacia said...

Just 8 days ago, my son Jax was born at 25 and a half weeks. We're still reeling, but he's doing so well, and we're receiving such incredible care from our NICU staff and have such a huge and amazing support system that things don't seem nearly as dire as they did a week ago.

I'm a writer as well, and have found great comfort in sharing Jax's story:

I look forward to reading this book and continuing to connect with other NICU/preemie parents.

Jennifer Peaslee said...

I'd like to win the book because it would be a nice gift for my sister-in-law :)

Bee W Bedard said...

I would like to win because I am an infant and child development worker and work with families that have experienced this

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