Meet Doug, Preemie Parent Mentor
My preemie(s) was born at: 23 weeks 6 days
Days spent in the NICU: 7
Parent of Multiples: No
Our NICU Journey included: Preemie Loss
My son, Parker, was born at 23 weeks and 6 days and lived in the NICU for seven days before he died. After his death my wife and I helped found a NICU parent support group (Precious Beginnings). Over the years I was able to help counsel families who experienced the death of their child, lending a caring and supportive ear. While Precious Beginnings is no longer active, I have been wanting to find a way to further support grieving parents.
After the death of my son many of my most profound and moving conversations were with parents who had experienced their own loss. There is something incredible in being able, at the most painful point in your life, to talk to someone who has experienced something similar to yourself. Those conversations were an emotional life-line early in my grieving process. I believe that my experiences and empathy can help others as they travel their path.
I hope every parent on this journey knows that you and your family’s journey is unique to you – your feelings are valid and your path is your own. Your friends and family will be able to support and assist you in a way that is comfortable for them. While it might not be what you hope to hear in the moment, remember that your friends and family are hurting for you and that their comments are an attempt to help and support you. Lastly, please be gentle with yourself. You are on a path you never envisioned for you and your child. There are others who are here to support you.
Losing a Premature Baby
Having to say goodbye to a preemie far too soon is a tragedy that no parent should ever have to face, but sadly loss is a part of the prematurity journey, too. Nothing can ever ease the pain of losing a child but even so, many organizations, websites, and groups exist to help moms and dads cope.