Peer support can make a huge difference to families who spend time in neonatal care. Our peer support volunteers have all been parents of a baby in neonatal care and are able to empathise with your situation. Having someone to talk to can relieve stress and feelings of isolation for both mum and dad. It gives you the opportunity to talk openly about your emotions and your worries and help you validate your feelings. Knowing that someone has felt exactly the same as you do right now can really help. Sometimes parents with a baby on the neonatal unit may feel that their friends and families don’t fully understand their fears and worries, or the challenges of having a sick or premature baby in hospital, and they probably don’t – with the best will in the world, how could they?
You may not want too many people to visit your baby on the neonatal unit. You may be worried about the risk of your baby catching a cold or infection. You may be tired of having to explain the same thing to everyone that visits. The neonatal unit can feel like your bubble, and sometimes it isn’t easy to let other people into your bubble.
Our Peer Support volunteers play a valuable role in providing emotional support as well as practical advice. They can share their own experiences with you, talk about their baby’s journey through neonatal care, and share tips and coping strategies. They can help to advise on practical elements, such as how to sort out your parking at the hospital, where to find tiny baby clothes, or which hand cream is the best for the sore and cracked hands caused by constant hand-washing.