Five Things For the Friends and Family

If you happen to have a baby prematurely or, really, if there are any complications, your focus needs to be on your new infant and, perhaps, your own recovery.  Everyone else will (or at least should) understand this.  Still, there are a few things that you, as the parent, can do to make life much simpler for extended family and friends.  They really do care and they really do want to help!  But, without a few simple things from you, it can be hard.


In the midst of the whirlwind of coping with a baby in the NICU and all that entails, here are five things I encourage you to do for your friends and family:


  1. Keep them informed.  Designate someone (a close friend or sibling is a great choice) to send out emails or update a site (such as CaringBridge) at least every couple days.  “No news is good news” simply doesn’t work.  People will worry more and more as days pass with no news.
  2. Share a picture.  Your closest friends and family are desperate to see your precious new little one.  Even if something is “wrong”, I think it’s good to share the beauty of your infant.  My tiny little one pounder certainly wasn’t an adorable chubby bundle.  But she was stunning.  And amazing.  And everyone was thrilled to see her.
  3. Tell them what you need.  I know it’s hard, but if you can be specific in your requests, people will find it far simpler to help.  If you need someone to feed your cat, say so.  If you’re desperate for some quick snacks, speak up.  Most of the time, those closest to you desperately want to be useful, but they don’t know what to do.
  4. Give specific prayer requests, if you’re comfortable with it.   There is great power in praying and it is a beautiful thing when people all over the place are lifting your child up in prayer.   I always appreciate it when someone lets me know their baby is undergoing a specific test or undergoing surgery, so I can really focus on those intentions.
  5. Let go of etiquette.  Now, some people may object to this recommendation but I honestly believe that if ever there is a time to not worry about thank you notes and such things, this is it.  Most of your friends and family would much rather hear about the moments you spend with your baby than receive a generic note about the sleeper they sent.  There is NOTHING wrong with doing these things but, if it comes down to spending five minutes updating your peeps or taking the time to write another card, I would advise doing the update.  It truly is more important to most people.
Have you ever been the friend or family in a complicated birth situation?  What would you have found helpful?





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4 comments to Five Things For the Friends and Family

  • My Aunt Christine, passed a few months ago. She only lived 4 weeks after they discovered her brain tumor. I wasn’t able to make the 900 mile journey home but I was able to send her cards and send money to my mom so that she could get things that my Aunt wanted. Although, I couldn’t be there to help, I really wanted to know what was going on but felt bad calling every day. So I think having a point person, is a great idea.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your aunt, Nora. It’s really hard to keep connected when you’re far away and I do think that’s where a “contact” or “point” person becomes invaluable.

  • I think letting people do things would be nice. All the things that get designated as stuff that can slide during this season could potentially be just the sort of thing someone would love to do for you. Some people will be desperate to shake off that helpless feeling and folding your laundry or making sure your trash cans are out might make them feel better for helping you and certainly would help your family out.

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