2023 was filled with a plethora of amazing guests and topics. So many exciting things are in store for the podcast in 2024!
In this episode, we chat about:
- Highlight some of our guests and topics.
- How listeners can share their feedback on next year’s seasons, by sending us a DM on social media or emailing us at email@example.com
- Take a quick 30-seconds and review, rate and subscribe to our podcasts. It’s how more people find us.
Kathryn Whitaker is the author of Live Big, Love Bigger, an award-winning book about living an intentional life and how her NICU baby helped her get there. She’s a sixth-generation Texan who loves queso, cowboy boots and southern hospitality. On social media and her blog, Kathryn shares her honest take on family life and living in the chaos, all while drinking Dr Pepper and cheering on the Texas A&M Aggies. She has appeared in USA Today, radio and TV stations around the country and is a frequent guest/sometimes host on SiriusXM Radio. Kathryn and her husband, Scott, live with their six children in Austin, Texas.
Connect with Kathryn:
Buy her book (affiliate link): Live Big, Love Bigger
Episode 92: Season Finale and Looking to 2024
This is NICU Babies, Parent Support with Kathryn Whitaker, a podcast from Hand to Hold, a national nonprofit that provides free personalized support resources and community before during and after a NICU stay. My conversations here will focus on education and personal stories with medical and hospital professionals, counselors, therapists and NICU moms and dads from across the country. Whether you’re preparing for a NICU stay, you’re currently there, or you’re months and years past, you belong here. The NICU is hard, we’re here to help. I’m your host, Kathryn Whitaker, a mom of six children, including my very own NICU baby, and I’m so honored you’re here.
Howdy, y’all, welcome back to the podcast. It’s my last recorded one in 2023. Don’t worry, I’ll be back in 2024, but we’re going to take the next few months off to let y’all enjoy the fullness of what the world has to offer the next few months in your homes and in your families, and then we’ll be back in 2024. But before we do that, I wanted to recap a few of my favorite things from 2023 and then let you know what you can look forward to in 2024. You know when I took over the podcast from Kelli Kelley, my amazing mentor at Hand to Hold, I, well, she left big shoes let’s be honest she left big shoes for me to fill. But there were so many things that I wanted to share with y’all, people, places, things, and I hope that we’ve done that.
I was just looking over the list, y’all, of all the things that we tackled. Are y’all ready to hear this? is this is a mighty, this is a mighty fun list. Okay here’s what we talked about this year: pregnancy and birth, particularly high-risk pregnancies. We talked about some specific conditions of kids like cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, HLHS, we talked about diet nutrition and food allergies, we had a whole month-long series in May about our mental health, including counseling, we had a whole other series in June about – oh actually June was mental health, May was preeclampsia, so speaking with specialists as well as family members, grief, loss, and palliative care, because not every family walks out of the NICU with their baby.
We talked about about traveling with your NICU baby, back to school, breastfeeding, and doulas, even birth photography. We snuck that one in. I talked to a number of specialists, whether that be chaplain, surgeons, feeding therapists, dietitians, and every kind of everybody in between. And then also we talked about some specific gadgets that would be great for you and your NICU baby. I’d say that’s a decent amount of say that’s a decent amount of things that we covered in 2023.
I loved every single one of those episodes. There was absolutely something that I learned. I always share my two-minute take at the end about something that struck me about what they shared, or maybe it sparked something in my own story, and maybe you listened to it and thought the same thing. I think you know I mentioned a long time ago when I first introduced in the podcast that I was the mom of six children, and they are elementary to graduate school, and so there’s a part of me – so our NICU baby is number five of six, so I have seen what life has to offer at least for the four older siblings: what does high school like high school look like and college, and how do you launch children and how do you navigate through hard and difficult things in middle school and then also in high school. So I sort of knew I think on some level what was coming but our NICU babies are unique, and that they open up doors to places that we never knew existed. And so while I had the benefit of knowing maybe what might be coming, I know that it’s always going to be new and different with each child and certainly with our NICU baby, who is now not a NICU baby, but he is a NICU middle schooler. And so I felt like I had some perspective and maybe just maybe some life experience and so as I’ve interviewed these guests, I I hope that maybe bits and pieces of what they have shared have really tapped into bits and pieces of your story, that that have made you in the podcast take a moment and say man, they really spoke into something that I’m dealing with, or something that I’m worried about or a particular joy or celebration that we recently had, and I it’s magnified now that someone else has kind of spoken into that space. That was my hope all along is that you would feel seen and known in the space wherever you are. Maybe maybe you’re sitting in the NICU right now with your brand new baby and everything is ahead of you and it feels part exciting, part overwhelming and maybe a little bit fearful. Maybe maybe that’s where you are. Maybe you’re a couple of months out and you’ve had a little perspective, maybe you’re going through some surgeries or some treatments and it’s hard, or maybe you’re hitting some milestones and maybe you’re like me, maybe you’re more than a decade out maybe maybe you’re 20 or 30 years later and you’re thinking how does that affect my NICU baby now, like this particular thing that we’re going through and how did we work through that. And so I wanted this to to be able to reach all of you, so if you have someone that you know who has had a NICU experience, wherever they are on that, I hope that this podcast has been serving them.
And so with that in mind, I really started thinking about how can we make the podcast even better, because you can ask my husband, I sit on the couch at night and think how how can we serve more people, how can I reach more experiences, give platforms and voices to to people that have great things to say? I think about it a lot, think about it probably too much, but I think about it a lot because I’m passionate about it. I think I’ve had enough perspective since we left to to really dive into some topics that may have been too tender when I was just, you know, just a little bit out of it. And now that we’re that many years out I feel like we can dive into that.
So as I was starting to look into 2024 and how we could make it even better this this this is what I was considering, and I think this is what we’re going to do. We’re going to take the next few months off, and then around February you’re going to see a new season come out, and 8 to 10 episodes roughly, and I’d really like to see us take a particular topic and dive really deep. Okay I have some I have some big dreams of of people that I want to visit with, maybe even maybe even some NICU, former NICU babies that I want you to hear from because I think that they give us a lot of hope, and their stories are always really powerful, as well as continuing to talk to specialists, in particular arenas, whether it be medical or something else that you might be dealing with, as well as your stories as moms, dads, and caregivers. There is value in hearing someone else’s story and seeing a little bit of yours in their particular story. So I think that’s where we’re going to go. You’re going to see about two to three seasons over the over the course of 2024, you’re going to see us dive deep into topics and if you’re wondering hey Kathryn, what are you all going to talk about, well I have two things I want you first to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I want you to tell me – we’ve been asking on social media what topics do you want us to talk about, but I don’t know, maybe you’re not a social media, maybe you’re just a podcast person who has an email that’s fine, email me at email@example.com and say Kathryn, please talk about this topic, or please talk to this person about this topic because I think they’d be really great. So I definitely want to hear from you there. The second thing is please go on whatever platform it is that you listen or even watch whether it’s YouTube or on a podcasting platform and review the podcast for us, give it a rating, write a review, whether it’s one or two sentences, I know that that is how people y’all y’all know about us because you’re listening right, but there might be people who are searching for some solidarity in the NICU and your review can help make us available in the organic search so that people can find us. I’m always grateful.
So that’s about a I think that’s about a 30- second ask that I’m asking of you so take 30 seconds go on to those places review them tell people about us and then email me firstname.lastname@example.org and know that many of the things that we have talked about this year you may have noticed that I would say at the end I have so many more questions but we got to wrap it up, and so know that some of those things we’re going to talk about even more. I tried really hard to keep the episodes to about half an hour, I felt like that was kind of the sweet spot because it’s about the time that it takes you to fold a load of laundry or wash a sink full of dishes, maybe clean up some Cheerios that are underneath your kitchen table, run an errand, maybe commute, I don’t know where you are, but 30 minutes seems to be just the right amount of time, not too overwhelming, but just enough time to give you some good information some good encouragement make you feel seen in the hard stuff and in the good stuff and let you walk away knowing that I’m going to be back the next week.
So man I just I just want to say if I can thank you you know when I took this over I certainly didn’t think that people would listen I mean I hope that they would but you never know right and I consider it a real privilege and a real honor to have these conversations with some people that I have known for a very long time and some people who are new to me because each one of them leaves me at the end thinking man I’m really glad I had that conversation. Not only did I learn something, but gosh dang it I feel less alone, and if there’s any place in the world that can feel isolating it’s that you y’all have been there. You know maybe you’re there right now so just just know how much I’m a I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here and we are all going to take a deep breath over the next couple of months, love on our families and the people in our lives, and then I will see y’all back in 2024 better, stronger, and with more topics and guests that you continue to love.
So until 2024, I will see you then. Thanks y’all for listening to NICU Babies, Parent Support. Every parent and every experience is welcome here. If you are a NICU parent and you’re finding yourself in need of support please download our app. You can find it in the Apple store or on Google Play, Hand to
Hold, and if you love today’s episode you can share it, you can subscribe and you can most certainly review it. We would love love love your reviews it’s how we reach more NICU parents. Thanks and I’ll see you all next time.