Watching a vulnerable child during a NICU stay is emotionally draining and difficult whether your child has many complications or just a few. Courtney’s son Jackson was born at 27 weeks and was in the NICU for 79 days. She contacted Hand to Hold to find a mentor to support her through the emotional roller coaster and who knew first-hand how hard this experience is. She was matched with Jessica, mom to Isaac who was born at 28 weeks gestation and who had a 50-day stay in the NICU. Despite the early birth, both boys had very minor complications and are both doing well. Both moms were glad to have found the peer support they needed to give back, find hope and heal.
“There are so many benefits to receiving support! In the very beginning, I felt like I was thrown into this unknown world and I felt alone. I found comfort knowing that someone, like Jessica had gone through a similar experience and that I could go to her for advice! When I was worried about something or scared, I would write her and she always had something helpful and positive to say!! It’s also comforting to have someone who knows your story and who is rooting for you and your little one!
Talking to Jessica made my NICU experience less scary, and gave me hope! We became friends on Facebook and it helped me a lot to see her son Issac’s pictures and how good he is doing now! Her positive words brought me happiness during a gloomy time!”
“Being a mentor to Courtney has also helped me continue my healing process from the premature birth of my son. When someone has a similar story to yours, it can help you see situations in ways you would not have when you were the one in their shoes. You can say “I know how you feel” and truly mean it. I was matched with Courtney very soon after her son was born and it has been amazing to get to know her and her baby Jackson through messages and photos that she shares.
I believe that having someone that can relate to you no matter where you are in your NICU journey is extremely important. At the hospital where I had my son, there was no peer support system for parents which is very disappointing. It is a very scary time and just having an ear to listen can help tremendously. My only regret is not finding Hand to Hold sooner!”