After the storm began to calm following my daughter’s early arrival, I felt the urge to give back to the preemie community. At the time, I had no idea how large the community really is. I began a blog to keep family updated and used it to spread awareness about prematurity. My family and I became involved in our area Chapter of the March of Dimes and participated as the Ambassador family in 2012. I submitted guest posts to PreemieBabies101 (here, here, and here), became a regular contributor, and guest posted for other moms of preemies. We gave Roxy’s preemie clothing to a friend of friend with preemie twins. I won some Peekaboo ICU bracelets and delivered them to my local NICU for new preemie parents. I’ve also signed up to volunteer through Hand to Hold. I also worked with two fellow preemie parents to start a support group at the local NICU unit in our area where current and past preemie parents meet once a month.
Most recently, my mom, Roxy and I drove to Roxy’s NICU to deliver trays loaded with cookies and brownies to the nurses for Neonatal Nurse’s Day. After learning that the NICU is in need of blankets, material and button up sleepers, I am in the process of trying to collect some to take back to the NICU.
There are so many ways to give back. Whether you blog to spread awareness, seek out other preemie parents to support, volunteer or donate, each can serve to help you deal with your own experience.
For me, giving back (whatever form it may be) has helped me through it all. Prematurity does not disappear after an “all clear” from a doctor. No matter how healthy your child is, the memories stay with you. To me, giving back is putting a little bit of sunshine on the gray days of the NICU journey for someone else while brightening the memory of our own NICU journey.
Do you give back? Do you include your preemies? What other suggestions would you have for giving back?