There are so many ways to assist parents during this challenging time in their life these are just a few. Looking back on our NICU journey (neonatal intensive care unit), here are a few things that stood out that helped us, and some that would have helped during our stay. I was asked during our NICU stay what could be done to help us, and I honestly didn’t know at the time because, well, my son’s survival was at the forefront. Everything else just took a back seat.
- Rideshare and Gas cards: Most moms with NICU babies have had C-sections and cannot drive for a while. They don’t always have someone who can take them back and forth to the hospital daily until they are cleared to drive independently. For the same reason, gas cards help and alleviate a little of the financial burden.
- Meal Delivery: Meals delivered to the house or food gift cards, the last thing most parents in this situation are thinking about is food and eating. It is one less thing for them to worry about and keeps them from skipping meals, especially for moms breastfeeding/pumping.
- Money donations: this helps with the financial burdens during and after the NICU. When many of these babies go home, there are many doctor visits and therapies, nursing, equipment, and it will all help. Many take unpaid time off of work, so this can go towards bills, food, whatever baby or siblings may need.
- Babysitting: if they have other children, offer to babysit and care for the other children.
- Prayers and Good Vibes: Send it all, positive energy, whatever you may call it, do it, and a lot. These babies and families need all they can get.
- Space: It may sound harsh but give them some space to deal with what’s going on; they will share when they are ready to share and what they are willing to share. Text them with words of encouragement, but please don’t get upset if they don’t respond or take a while to get back to you. Many are in a state of survival for a bit.
- Errands and Chores: Help with tidying up. Clean the house or daily house chores. Pick up the mail, do a quick grocery run. Help fill up on the basics for the house.
- A Journal: you can give them a journal to write down feelings, thoughts, all the many details and info given to them daily.
- A Support System: Help with the communication with family and friends. Having a point of contact was great to share the info with all those thinking of, worried about, and praying for us. Convey the information with the people they approve of to disseminate the updates, so they don’t have to repeat the same information and status so many times and allow them time to focus their attention on the baby. At the same time, respect the parents’ wishes with privacy. Some may not want to share until they are home or whatever the outcome may be.
- Random Rant: Be a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. When they are ready to share, simply just listen with a hug. They do not need advice during this time.
It can get really lonely some days, and a parent can feel all alone having someone to help and even just do one thing off this list is priceless and will always be remembered. Sometimes we don’t even think that this one small act of kindness can make such a huge impact in one persons entire world!
If you know someone that would benefit from this list share it with them, and use it as a resource to support them. If you are a mom and experienced what it was like, please share more tips to help.