Today we are launching an important two-week campaign to fund our innovative support-based PODCAST for NICU families! Our podcast will eliminate the many physical and emotional barriers parents face in accessing and receiving support. Read more to find out why this endeavor is a valuable addition to the family-friendly support programs Hand to Hold offers.
For weeks after my son’s preterm birth at 24 weeks gestation, I sat by his bedside and desperately tried to see past the tubes and wires that engulfed his tiny body. I could barely see his face because of the respirator tube and tape used to hold it in place. I was told I needed to bond with my baby. But how was I supposed to bond with a baby I could not hold, feed or bathe? I knew the possible implications of allowing myself to bond with a baby that may not survive.
Those were dark and lonely days. I was crumbling under the weight of my grief. I was overcome with feelings of guilt and shame that my body had failed my baby and my husband.
I did not know how to talk about my emotions.
I did not know how to effectively communicate with my son’s care team or how to advocate for him.
I did not know how to break down the barrier between me and my sick baby so I could start the bonding process.
I needed support, but I did not know where to turn, who to ask or even the words to use.
For the past 10 years, it has been my passion to help parents through those dark and lonely days and months that follow preterm birth and the loss of a baby. Hand to Hold has developed phenomenal educational resources, a respected peer-to-peer support program, an active online community, and a tremendously successful in-hospital support group curriculum.
However, while our in-hospital support groups have helped numerous NICU families, many parents still face physical and emotional barriers to accessing our support:
- Their baby’s NICU does not offer a support group
- They are uncomfortable or unsure about sharing emotions in a group or public setting
- They do not live close to their baby’s NICU
- They are hesitant to leave their baby’s bedside because they have limited time in the NICU and do not want to miss participating in daily care and/or they fear for the baby’s health
- The support group times conflict with their work schedules or they must care for older siblings
- Translation services are not available.
Without basic access to support, these parents are ill-equipped in understanding how to redirect negative thought processes, bond with their babies, and become confident caregivers and advocates for them. This got us thinking:
Why don’t we capitalize on the proliferation of smart phone use and the continued growth in podcasting to create a support-based podcast for NICU families that will make support more readily and easily accessible?
Since 2008, podcast listeners have doubled to more than 89 million worldwide. A podcast is a digital audio file that can be downloaded from a website or directly to your smart phone. Our podcast will be free and available to anyone, anywhere, at anytime. Episodes will feature interviews with NICU parents and healthcare/mental health professionals on topics of interest to NICU families, from bonding and engaging with your fragile baby to feeding issues and emotional/mental health.
In order to deliver the podcast by YEAR-END, we need you to commit your support. Please. . .
- Donate $10 today – less than the cost of a pair of earbuds. An act that takes about ten seconds will impact the lives of NICU families for years to come. Each donor will receive exclusive first access of the podcast before we launch.
- Share this post on your Facebook and Twitter channels.
Hand to Hold’s programs and services are more than a band-aid. They are designed to transform the lives of NICU and bereaved families, which in turn benefits our communities, our economy and most importantly, the social and developmental outcomes of babies born preterm or with special healthcare needs.