Saturday, April 20, 2013

Peer Support -Through Insanity and Beyond.

I've been thinking a bit lately about the benefit of peer support. You know,  the importance of sharing experiences with others who have been through NICU too.

When Smidge was tiny and ill, we were moved around a lot from hospital to hospital. It was hard forging friendships under those circumstances  and being so far from home.

It's also hard to predict how much other families want to talk to you in this situation. I always worried that fellow Mum's wouldn't want to make friends, that they were busy dealing with their own baby and their own stuff that they wouldn't want to talk to me.

Thanks to the fabulous matron at our local unit, I made some great new friends after I left and if it wasn't for these friends then goodness knows where I'd be today.

These friends, who'd shared similar experiences to me, were the bridge between hospital and home and thinking back, they were probably the difference between sanity and insanity.

See, when I first came home, to the outside world I was just an ordinary Mum.

I took day trips to the park. I cooed over my small baby and watched her gentle first smiles..

But as heart melting as those moments were, Inside I think I felt different to other new Mum's.
I felt that 'who' I was, (or who I had become,) was not the person that they saw in front of them.
I felt I'd changed, to the point that even I wasn't sure who I was now because only weeks before everything was so different.

The people in the park didn't know about n.g tubes and sats monitors.
I guess there was something about Smidge's home coming that made me feel that something was missing, even though it was perhaps the time I should have felt the most complete of all.

And it was almost as though, everything that happened, I was one step behind in how I was experiencing things.

Where there was shock there was denial, 

Where relief should have been, there was shock!

and then...  relief finally came there was fear... so much fear.
Fortunately, with good peer support and counselling  I came to realise that all these feelings were normal. Perhaps not normal for everyone, but normal for us Premmy Mum's.

So in Today's post I want to say a big THANK YOU to all my Premmy Mum friends for being there for me, for listening to my worries, for letting me know that I was never alone.

You have made such a  difference to our family!

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