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Thursday, March 21, 2013

You Can Make A Difference!

In the last post I talked about how the crazy, insane nurses at the hospital just let me walk right out of that hospital with my first baby right after he was born. They didn't come and inspect my house, run a background check, or check my mommy credentials. They didn't call any of my references...nothing. They just let me take him home.

They just assumed that I would know what to do? That I would figure it out? What the hell? Where was his manual?


And she had special needs! She was BLIND!

Oh my God!

After I had her I thought FOR SURE they would tell me exactly what to do. Surely SHE would come with a manual. Surely someone would tell me how the hell to do this whole thing.

Didn't they have these people called Social Workers that worked in the hospital. Weren't they supposed to come in and help me to clean up some of this emotional mess that had cluttered my brain. Wasn't that what they were trained to do?

I asked to see a social worker before I left the hospital. I asked multiple times to see one. I never did. Was she off, was she gone, was she too busy?

I mean, my whole life was falling apart. Didn't they have someone at the hospital who could talk to me? Tell me what I needed to hear. Comfort me. Listen to me.

I guess they didn't because no one ever came. They just checked her out medically, watched me strap her into her carseat and then sent me out the door.

I walked out of those double doors that day without the faintest clue in the world of what to do next. I didn't know what to think, what to feel, who to talk to...I just didn't know.

I know that many of my friends who read this work in the hospital. Many of them are nurses in the NICU and the PICU. 

YOU GUYS can be that someone. 
YOU GUYS can help.

Many of my friends have special needs children. Many of them have been down this same road.

YOU GUYS can be that someone.
YOU GUYS can help.

If you work in the hospital, LISTEN to your patient's parents. ASK them how they are doing. INVITE them to be honest with you. KNOW that they are probably NOT okay. Know that they are hurting. They are scared and they don't know what to do. COMFORT them.  Treat them with compassion. Treat them as PARENTS. Don't be annoyed if you have to repeat something 15 times. Sometimes it takes a very long time for things to sink in. Don't be annoyed if a mom can't seem to get it together and is overwhelmed. Don't be annoyed if she won't stop crying and is a mess. Don't be annoyed if she hovers and asks to many questions. She's scared. She doesn't understand.  Don't be judgemental of the mom who seems nice, but doesn't seem to visit enough. Maybe it's just too much.  Maybe she just needs time.  Don't judge the mom who never leaves the bedside. Don't be upset when she seems to criticize and critque everything you do.  She has lost control of her life. Nothing makes sense anymore and she is just trying to control whatever she can.

Parents of special needs kids. You guys are so valuable. You guys can do so much. Get involved. Meet and connect with new parents. Talk about how you felt, what you went through. Talk about how it is hard, but that it gets better. Give them a light at the end of the tunnel. Nothing means more than to speak with another family who knows this road. Who has been where you have been before.

I have found so much healing and emotional comfort in talking about what it was like for me. When I meet another mom and she tells me what she is feeling, there is no better feeling in the world then when she says something that I have felt. Nothing feels better than when I say "Yes. Yes. I felt like that too." And then I see her eyes light up with tears because she has found someone who understands.

We all need someone. I wish that I would have found someone right away in the first few days after Oli was born.  I wish that more people in that hospital would have validated my feelings and told me that it was okay. That is why I talk about how important that one nurse was. My labor and delivery nurse who came into my room after Oli was born.  She was the only person there who had the nerve to talk to me about how I was feeling. Everyone else saw my tears and then walked away. They walked away from me and left me alone with my tears. With my grief, questions, fear, and anger. Although she couldn't help me, she at least said something. At least she asked me how I was doing. 

Be the difference in someone else's life.
Be a shoulder to cry on.
Be that comfort.
Don't walk away.
Don't be annoyed.
Don't judge.

Make a difference.
You really can make a difference and I guarantee you, that family will NEVER forget it.

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