Did you know that Graham’s Foundation offers parent to parent support for parents of premature babies and kids? This free program helps moms and dads of preemies connect with other parents who have experienced the same challenges. We asked Healther, who is coordinating the program, to tell us more about the program and why it’s such an important part of how we fulfill our mission.
When I gave birth to my micro-preemie nearly 4 years ago, I started an incredibly isolating journey.
Owen was my first child and my textbook perfect pregnancy came to an end after a rapid labor. My world had changed completely in just a matter of hours. I was young, naive and completely clueless about what the next 3 months would hold. My husband and I had a wonderful family and an incredible support network of friends and church family but no one had ever experienced a premature birth, let alone a 25 weeker.
They were supportive, kind and encouraging but I still felt alone.
This feeling of isolation continued as each week passed in the NICU. New diagnoses and concerns went hand in hand with new milestones and accomplishments. I fell in love over and over again with my sweet, tiny baby boy and that made each conversation with his doctors that much more overwhelming. I made the mistake numerous times of looking online to find answers and was bombarded by medical research telling me that my perfect little baby could be facing a lifetime of struggles. I had no one to talk to who knew how I felt.
I started working with Graham’s Foundation a few years ago, wanting to help parents who have been through what we had with Owen. Now I am very excited to share our new Parent Resource Program. This is the newest way that Graham’s is supporting and encouraging preemie parents.
Through this new program, we are able to connect with parents on a one-on-one peer level. Each of our volunteers has been through their own NICU journey and knows the fear and loneliness that it can bring. No parent should have to go through this experience alone. And, as Graham’s Foundation has been doing since 2009, we are here to help.
Since the Parent Resource Program officially began last spring, we have added 9 new volunteers, all of whom have experienced very different NICU journeys. Parents can ‘meet’ our new resources through our website and each of our volunteers are available through email. We will also be featuring each volunteer throughout the year in blog posts and online chats.
The NICU journey and raising your preemie is an experience that very few can identify with. Graham’s Foundation is doing everything we can to keep preemie parents at every stage of the journey from feeling alone.
Want to know more, need support, or are you interested in becoming a part of the program? Check out the website listed above or email me at [email protected] to find out how you can connect or help.