There are few experiences that can compare to the helplessness and anxiety of having a premature baby. While states like New York have passed extreme abortion laws allowing for babies to be killed up to birth, anyone who has witnessed a baby’s beating heart flickering on the ultrasound screen knows that an unborn baby is fully human and fully alive. This is all the more evident when a baby is born before reaching full-term, whether due to pregnancy complications or threats to the mother’s or baby’s health. While radical abortion supporters want to legally kill babies in the late stages of pregnancy, the experience of premature babies irrefutably show how wrong and inhumane this is.
Five years ago, Freya Vinje’s family was in the throes of the fear and anxiety that come with having a baby born early. Lauren Vinje, Freya’s mother, shared the story of her daughter’s birth on the blog Birth Without Fear to inspire and encourage other parents of preemies. What drew people from around the world to her story was the stunning photo she shared of Freya at just five-days-old.
Many people are quick to dismiss newborn smiles as illusory, but there can be no doubt about Freya’s joyous smile. Freya’s mother told ABC News, “I was talking to her and I had said, ‘Should we send a picture to Daddy?’ and right when I was about to take the picture, she had this huge smile. It was a picture that I had always wanted to get out for people to see because of how it touched me [in] the way that it did. We gave a copy to the nurses, and when we went to have our second little girl, they still had it hanging up in their break room.”
— KGUN9 On Your Side (@kgun9) October 26, 2016
The Minnesota mother of two says of sharing Freya’s amazing picture on the birth community blog, “It made me feel really good.” She added, “Under the comments, I read through a lot of the stories and it’s [for] moms to know, especially mom who are going through it now … they don’t have to go through it alone.” In the comments, several people who were born premature themselves left a note of hope and encouragement, while many mothers currently going through the difficulties of caring for a preemie expressed gratitude.
Freya’s dad, David Vinje, agreed with his wife, saying, “Like Lauren had said, when you’re going through it, you don’t know what to expect when it’s your first time having kid. I think [it’s] for people going through this to have that idea of, ‘Oh, there’s other people going through this too.'”
Lauren Vinje assured ABC News that the smiling photo of baby Freya was no fluke but a genuine expression of her personality. Freya, who was two at the time of the interview with ABC News, has a friendly and buoyant personality. Lauren Vinje said, “Ho
nestly, she is the best thing that has happened to us.” She explained, “We go to the store and she’s the friendliest little girl and she says hi to everybody. She’s so fun. She’s so happy. That picture at 5 days old, you can see her little personality and you look at her now, and she hasn’t changed. She’s still the happy little girl in that photo.”
In an interview with TODAY, David Vinje shared how the photo continues to circulate online and bring hope to parents going through similar circumstances. He said, “We are all born into this world in our own unique way, and it has been so cool to see the responses the photo has generated. This picture has offered relief and joy to us as a family, and it’s been a blessing to see it influence others in an unpredictable way.”
The Vinjes continue to share the photo with the world. Two years after Freya’s birth, Lauren Vinje shared the memorable image on the Facebook page Love What Matters and the image was “liked” more than 300,000 times and shared more than 50,000 times. In the caption, Vinje wrote, “Our first daughter at five days old. 3 lbs. 14 oz., she was happy to be alive! This picture was one I looked at often to get me through the ups and downs of our NICU days. Life is so precious.”
Looking at Freya’s beautiful smile and happiness to be alive at a time when most babies are still nestled safely in their mothers’ womb preparing for birth, there is no doubt that the baby born at nine months is no more human than an unborn baby. The beauty and continuity of life is unassailable.
Offering advice to fellow parents with a baby fighting in the NICU, Lauren Vinje told People, “My biggest advice to parents with preemie babies is to never give up.” She continued, “Stay positive and stay strong. Try to be there as much as possible and hold them as much as you can and take in those moments, because they are so precious.” Any mother or father needing encouragement need only to look at Freya’s unforgettable smile.