By Joel Brens-
As we congregate in Nashville for our 2013 Preemie Parent Alliance summit, I can't help but reflect on what I have learned from last years summit and what I hope to gain from this years. During last years summit we received gift bags full of items from all the different organizations attending. Included in the package was a small wooden box with a tree on it. Inside were stones with words that we can relate to what we do in the NICU support community, as well as it relates to our own NICU experiences. A couple months ago I opened the box back up and thought at length about what exactly it represents.
First and foremost, PASSION to make a positive difference is what drives me as well as the other members of PPA to do what we do. I feel like we are making strides with fathers voices in and after the NICU, but we still have a long way to go.
TRUST is another thing that plays a key role in community support. Sometimes we face decisions or experience things that may not seem normal, and through trusting our support groups, we often realize we are not alone with our worries, when we can say "Yes! I do understand how you feel!"
We are constantly trying to CREATE new ways to provide support, resources, and advice, on a individual basis, and collectively as a larger organization. I am committed to offering as many services through Papas as possible, even if it means referencing you to one of many other amazing organizations.
We EMBRACE diversity, because the reality is everyone manages their NICU experience differently. Much the same, multiple members of PPA have resources addressing specific needs (micro-preemie, bereavement, multiples, special needs). Whether you spent three days in the NICU while your child was treated for jaundice, or you spent six months, (and countless nights) wondering if your child would make it, your insights and feelings are always welcome and important to us. Diversity is what makes us great.
Finally, HARMONY, which brings me back to why I feel the Preemie Parent Alliance is capable of doing amazing things. The work the leadership team is doing to provide us with opportunities to speak to medical and health care professionals is fantastic! Parents are starting to feel more empowered, hospitals are embracing the importance of parents care while child is in NICU. All these things are possible because of a changing tide, and the Preemie Parent Alliance is playing a large role in making it happen.
To learn more about what we are doing as an organization, be sure to check out the Preemie Parent Alliance's homepage.