I wanted to comfort and support the family, but I didn’t know how. Not knowing what else to do, I bought some preemie outfits and took our two girls to CVS to buy cards celebrating the birth of the little one. We’ve also drawn pictures for baby to look at and sent a NICU journal with colorful pens for the parents to document this stressful, exciting and emotional time.
After reading some articles and blogs online, I’ve learned that it can be helpful to:
a) Congratulate the parents! It is stressful and unexpected, but still a wonderful and exciting time.
b) Listen. Listen to the highs and the lows. Listen to their worries and concerns. Not just the first day, but for the weeks and possibly months to come.
c) Lend a helping hand. Whether you live near or far, there is always a way you can show support. You can send gift cards, preemie baby items, a card, a text letting them know you are thinking about them. Just as you probably don’t know exactly how to help, they probably don’t know exactly what would be helpful. So help when and how you can and let them discover what things are best for their family. It is a learning process for everyone.
If you’ve gone through the NICU experience yourself or supported a friend or a relative, what was most helpful?