When I refer to the bond I have to a certain group of women, I always compare it to a sorority. While none of us rushed this sorority, we are all part of an elite and special group of women who have gone through a very rigorous initiation. What am I referring to? It’s nothing less than the strongest women I know, my preemie friends.
While very few of us were in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) together, we all have a special bond that has brought us together. Once I became a mother to a micropreemie, I had no idea what journey was ahead of me. I would have never imagined that the silver lining to this roller coaster journey would be lasting friendships with women who have shared a similar story to my own. I had no shortage of family members and friends who were mothers, but I didn’t personally know one other person who was a NICU and preemie mother.
You know that saying that you don’t know someone’s journey until you take a walk in their shoes? Well, these ladies are the closest that I could get to knowing someone who has also endured the heartache of a pregnancy ending entirely too soon and leaving your critically ill child in someone elses hands for days, weeks or months on end. While our stories are all different full of ups and downs and even some with losses, what we share has bonded us together even years out of the NICU.
It’s not uncommon for someone to post in our NOLA Preemie Facebook group a recommendation for therapist or a specialist in relation to our little ones care. We exchange which doctors we love and what therapists in the area worked wonders on our children. Play dates have been held from time to time where we get our toddlers and preschoolers together, and since we are all germophobes, there are copious amounts of hand sanitizer to go around.
These ladies are nothing short of amazing, and we have come together to help other parents in the NICU like ourselves during the holidays. For the past few years, we have created holiday baskets that we have delivered to NICU families during December to the hospital where our miracles were born. Also, a NICU Support Group has been formed at our hospital where a couple of us go and share our stories with families who currently have their babies in the NICU. Many of us have also became active with our local March of Dimes chapter, where we have helped raise awareness of prematurity in the New Orleans Area and have done multiple fundraising events.
Lucky is one short adjective that I like to describe these friendships. I feel so privileged to know so many of these women and their families. As a group we have been able to share our experiences and then turn them into an excellent purpose of sharing our experiences with NICU support groups, giving back to NICU families and fundraising for such an important cause like the March of Dimes.
Have you found friendship in unexpected places or circumstances?