Please, how do I help a friend ,who lost a son hours after his birth, find a purpose in life and a way to volunteer to help the NICU in her son’s memory?
September 3, 2008 6:51 PM   Subscribe

Please, how do I help a friend ,who lost a son hours after his birth, find a purpose in life and a way to volunteer to help the NICU in her son’s memory?

Said friend started leaking fluid at 20 weeks and her son’s lungs stopped developing. He survived 4 hours after being delivered. She wants to help (specifically the NICU at Ft. Worth Methodist) in his memory and the was the ONE thing she asks of me… find a way to direct her needs to help. She does plan on donating breast milk if her labs come back okay, but what else? She does not have a lot of financial resources. Thanks in advance.
posted by texas_blissful to Human Relations (9 answers total)
My NICU nurse wife suggests volunteering as a baby rocker -- someone who holds and consoles babies when they are crying or need some attention.
posted by roofone at 7:21 PM on September 3, 2008

Maybe collect a package for the next mother who has this tragedy? A box with a camera, some clothes, a knitted cap and booties, anything she would have appreciated having for herself to ease the next mother's pain. I am so sorry for her loss.
posted by saucysault at 8:20 PM on September 3, 2008

Contact the NICU, and ask. Maybe even do it at another (larger) hospital so that they give you more ideas.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:45 PM on September 3, 2008

I used to be involved with screening volunteers for a hospice/grief program, and we approached people with very recent loss experiences cautiously. It might be a bit premature for her to start volunteering or getting committed in some way. Lots of time grieving people want to throw themselves into activities as a way of getting their minds off the pain. It's usually not a good experience for anyone, as the people are very fragile and sometimes more focused on avoiding something (their pain) than they are helping someone.

I'd suggest she give herself some time, find a support group or some kind of therapeutic or spiritual endeavor to help her deal with the enormous loss she's just experienced. Later on she can use her experience and try to figure out what the best way is to channel her compassion and desire to help others.
posted by jasper411 at 9:15 PM on September 3, 2008

I'm one of those people who works grief out better when I'm doing something to prove to the Bad Brain that I'm still viable and useful, and although none of my sorrows have approached hers, I would say that roofone and hal_c_on have the ideas I'd suggest/pursue.

She should definitely check in with herself (or someone who knows her very well) to see if she is ready for all of the possibilities of any opportunity to help she considers, as jasper411 points out how difficult it can be - and considering how like her grief some of the situations there will be, it could be a serious blow to her ability to continue healing without giving it due consideration and planning.
posted by batmonkey at 9:52 PM on September 3, 2008

A child in NICU has an impact on an entire family. Perhaps she could volunteer to provide support to those families. One idea would be to baby sit older children in the family to allow the parents extra time with their baby in NICU. She might also be able to help parents explain the NICU to older children. After all of the build up of having a baby sister or brother, older kids must be terribly confused by having a critically ill sibling. Lots of parents will have family/community support systems to help with older kids. However, plenty of parents won't have much support available or the support peters out long before the baby leaves NICU.

NICU and ICU have very restricted access. If she'd be comfortable providing support for the family, she might have more options.

I'm sorry for her loss.
posted by 26.2 at 4:37 AM on September 4, 2008

When we lost our son, my wife crocheted preemie sized hats and booties to donate to the NICU. This gave her something active to do, that also directly benefitted other babies, but allowed her some seperation. She said that Bev's Country Cottage is a good source for patterns.

Both the MISS Foundation and Share have excellent forums that may have additional suggestions as well as support.
posted by Morydd at 4:51 AM on September 4, 2008

In a sad situation like this, some kind of spiritual understanding about heaven, souls and a life's mission needs to be comprehended. Someone who actually went through this with their son wrote the book When Bad Things Happen to Good People. You could possibly purchase this for them for them to read.
posted by watercarrier at 4:56 AM on September 4, 2008

Response by poster: These are all great ideas; thank you soooo much! And I will find a way to bring up the grieving process and make sure she's ready for this.
posted by texas_blissful at 5:18 AM on September 4, 2008

« Older we have the technology!   |   How can I take photos on one mac with photobooth... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.