When Mr. J was in the NICU, I didn't have a lot of contact with my friends. I think they maybe didn't know what to do or say, so they just kind of stayed away. I wasn't upset - I can understand, it's hard and they have their own lives. When I did talk to people, they often asked what they could do to help, but I didn't have an answer.
To be honest, at the time I didn't really know how to respond when people DID ask what we needed. It would have been much better for someone to have just DONE something, or offered to do something specific.
- child care (look after other children that they may have - and make it FUN! the kids need help too)
- making meals (they still need to eat, but may not have time to make something healthy or the desire to cook, being able to heat something quick will help them a great deal). Snacks are a great option as well (muffins, protein bars)
- household chores - unfortunately chores still need to be done even when you are not home most of the time. Vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom and laundry. Shoveling snow, raking leaves and cutting grass. Our neighbour cut our grass when Mr. J was at CHEO and it really helped. Hubby kept thinking about the yard and it needing to be done, but was exhausted (mentally and physically)and came home from work one day all set to cut the grass, only to find out it had been taken care of. It was something that we both really appreciated.
- make a hospital package (a tote filled with snacks, drinks, magazines, books and GC's to the hospital restaurants/coffee shops)
- be company for them - if they need someone to sit with for a half hour OR if they want to grab a shower but don't want their child alone, you could sit in the room for them.
- just being there. Call, email, text - whatever you can...while they may not be able to respond immediately, knowing you are thinking about them will help to lift their spirits. Having a child in the hospital can be pretty isolating.
- take care of pets. Walking, feeding, playing with any of their animals will probably be a big help as well.
- offer a drive. I had delivery complications and was not comfortable driving. I had a few family members and a friend give me lifts into the hospital (hubby had to work since we still had bills that needed to be paid) and it was so wonderful. They would drive me in and then read a book while I was with Mr. J. It did, and still does, mean the world to me
Do you have any other tips?
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