Friday, 23 December 2016

To all the parents in NICU this Christmas

Image result for christmas in hospitalTo you...
The mum, dad or family member currently sitting in the NICU ward by your baby’s side wishing them to be home for Christmas.
They had a good week last week, things were looking up, surely just one more week and you would all be home?

Celebrating your first Christmas with your NICU graduate, getting to grips with your new baby whilst making your festive lunch and opening presents, breathing a sigh of relief that you were now finally home.

As a family, you were in the place where you all belonged, it wasn't meant to be though was it?

There have now been a few setbacks, the test results didn't come back as they should and further action is needed over the next week.

The next week, which is Christmas.

The stark reality is that you will be in NICU over Christmas.

No amount of knitted Santa hats, tinsel on the display boards or the mock turkey dinner in the canteen will ever make it feel like a real Christmas.

You feel sick just walking to the NICU, seeing everyone do their Christmas shopping in town as you drive to hospital.

You may not even want to celebrate, just keep focused on your normal daily routine.

To you this year it is just another day, another day you will hopefully be closer to bring your baby home.

Your social media feed is making you choke back the tears, how is this fair?

It should be you who is bringing their baby home and taking them to see Santa for the first time.

But it isn't, you will once again you will be making the trip up the hospital to sit for hours on end by your baby's incubator.

I wish I could make this better for you, I do, this is likely to be one of the hardest times of year to have a baby in NICU and not at home by your side. When pictures of happy families are everywhere.

After this year, each year that passes will be more special, this time next year you will be feeling a million times better than you are now.

If you feel down, depressed, angry and you resent every single person who has got their baby home, it is okay, it makes you normal.

You may not even feel grateful you get to spend Christmas with your baby, as you are in this setting.

Where you are not alone with your baby, where there are always lights and noises, and a million strangers in the same room.

This is one year out of many, this is temporary, this time next year, this will be your time.

Your time to get back what rightly belongs to you, your family. That will be your closure.

For now, if the sight of tinsel makes you sick, don't bother with it, rip it down.

It may not feel like it but this is your Christmas too and you can deal with it however you want to.
You may want to celebrate, make the best of it, and for this I admire you.

If we break it down, Christmas is a mere 24 hours. It is 24 hours closer to your goal. To bringing your amazing baby home.
I know you didn’t ask for this, none of us did, and it is something that will never leave you even when you are not in there anymore.

You will always be a NICU parent, and so will I, it is a club that you have now become a member for life.
It also means you have the support of the thousands of other lifelong members, and we do not forget you no matter if it is Christmas or not.

Many of us will help, will support and try and make your Christmas as normal as possible, you will appreciate this a lot more in the long run. We will never see you as ungrateful, we know how hard it is to process.

I am a NICU Mum, and I am thinking of you, it doesn't count for much but I am.

I will be by your side whilst you scream, shout, cry and wonder what you did to deserve this.

It really isn’t the most wonderful time of the year for you right now is it?

It is Christmas, and I am here for you.

From one NICU parent to another, you, your family, your baby and all the staff working with you, we will be thinking of you.








Monday, 5 December 2016

I really don't know what I am doing.

Vote for me!
My blog started 9 months ago now, and is considered my baby. It took 9 months of growing and it developed into something so much more than I ever imagined. It has led me to connect and meet some amazing people. I started the blog as a way of processing what I was feeling when I was suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the birth of Elijah. I wanted to tell my story, as if writing it down would somehow make it better, that it may help others and it did. It gave me a channel to focus everything that I was feeling and thinking and to get it out. I didn’t expect much to come of the blog when I first set it up, I didn’t even set it up one of our friends did and I had no clue what I was doing! Then it became an addiction, I had to write and write and write, the more I did the more I felt like myself again. It was if I was becoming a better version of the person I was before as I was stronger, I had a focus and a purpose to help others who were going through the same thing. One small thing I had no idea what I was doing, (I still don’t).

When I first started out, I looked at the elite bloggers (you know the ones, where you stalk their amazing Insta feeds and hope they like or comment and when they do you fan girl off your chair.) I knew I would never reach their level. My photos on Insta are average at best and I cannot bear to part with my Nokia Lumia 925. I can never do a nice arty or Instagram worthy pic as Elijah runs away, cries or throws a strop if there is a nice pic, it happened by accident I can tell you. The photos are like my blog, and I think this is what my mantra is, they are honest, they are our real lives. I didn’t think brands would be interested in me, and after a while I realised I had a bigger purpose I wanted to serve. Yes, my blog may not bring me an income (occasionally some free stuff) and it does take up a lot of my time, but I believe the purpose of my blog changed in those first few months. I made me realise I could make a difference, I could help and hope to change people’s lives.

I began to identify what went wrong on our own journey. Where I was let down, and after some researching realised thousands of families across the UK were being let down too. I have one voice, one small blog but I have tried to use it to raise awareness of NICU issues and mental health issues. It took a lot of struggling whether I was brave enough to honestly tell my story it is one thing going out to strangers, another when your friends and family read it. How would they react? But, if I told my story, my honest story then others may begin to follow suit and we can make a change. All pieces, especially the honest and raw ones were received well, I guess the one person they were a shock to the most was Greg. You can live with a person, and realise they are not themselves but I didn’t think he knew to what I was truly feeling. I think he felt guilt, but it has made us closer and the lines of communication are fully open between us now.

After beginning to connect with some lovely ladies on Instagram who all had blogs, ones that seemed to be on a completely different level to mine (Mummy and Nina, Too Much Mothering Information Mamazou, The Mum Coach, The Mommy Somniac). They began to help, encourage and even let me feature on their blogs. It led to making lifelong friends ones whose house you crash at for 4 days (Life with my Little Duck), ones who you feel you may have been separated at birth from as you both laugh so much (Uh Oh Mum, Hey Is It Me, Pabarilife). Ones who check in with you for no other reason than to see if you are okay, (The Mum Coach), and ones who notice when you are not yourself or haven’t been online for a few days (Too Much Mothering Information) Ones who when you need it will help you in a heartbeat. Ones who help make your dream of being published real (Salisbury Parenting). I will still maintain I don’t really know what I am doing, most is done on gut feeling and I will always help those and pass on what I know especially to new bloggers. After all, if I wasn’t given helped I wouldn’t be where I am today.

I began to contact parenting sites, and other sites that accepted guest blogs. My biggest achievements to date, was being invited to become a Huffington Post Parent blogger and taking part in the first #PNDAW16. Back then, I had no idea what I was doing, and if I was even good enough I look back on the email I was sending out to everyone, and no wonder most didn’t ever come back to me! It is strange to think of how much I have picked up since then. I became a regular blogger on two other parenting sites and took the decision this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to write, to campaign to help others so have joined Bliss and Little Miracles UK as a campaigner as this is where my passion is. If I can use my writing to make a difference, then I will be happy. I guess like most 90’s kids my dream was to become like Carrie Bradshaw and with the help I have been given, and the amazing opportunities that it now becoming a reality. My dream, to be published in print, my words, on a page you can go out and buy, to maybe even one day write a book.

This leads me to now, I entered the UK blog Awards 17 on a whim (like most things on my blogging journey) and didn’t think I would get through. However, here I find myself pleading for your votes to get to the judges round (the closest I will ever get to X Factor that’s for sure) like most of my blogging journey it was done on whim and I have no idea if I will get through, but if you can help me do this then I will be very grateful. After all, it’s not just for me, but it is exposure for all of those NICU parents as well. This is who I am doing this for and why I continue to do this. You can vote for me at the following link; until Dec 19th;

Thank you,