Today Canadian Premature Babies Foundation is celebrating the birthday of its own little baby, so to speak.
On November 28, 2014, we launched a national support network called Canadian Preemie Parent Support Network. The support network was carefully planned and executed with a small group of experienced parents with prematurely born children leading the way. We felt in order to be successful, we must ensure our families receive approved training in regard to providing peer-to-peer support at the national level.
During our Family Consultative Meeting held in Calgary, Alberta, in the fall of 2014, we facilitated a peer support workshop for all parents present for the meeting. Our peer facilitators were equipped with information and practical experiences to take home with them and reflect on while facilitating our support network.
As of our one year birthday, we have thirteen wonderful peer facilitators helping to run our network. As of this morning we reached an exciting milestone of 800 network members accessing the group to receive and provide ongoing support to other parents of prematurely born children. We have families with babies currently living in the neonatal intensive care units across Canada and we have families with preemies who are now grown adults.
Over the year our ever-growing group has listened to each other’s fears, concerns, and best of all, their triumphs. We see “our babies” grow from their incubators to their strollers to go home. We’ve supported through setbacks and loss. We’ve proudly watched as posts go up about first solid food attempts, to first steps and those amazing first birthdays!
We have been able to witness all of the ups and downs our families have been willing to share. These opportunities would not exist if it were not for the facilitators of our group helping to keep things running smoothly and the parents participating in the group who are always respectful and gracious in their comments and sharing.
So today we celebrate not only the start of a wonderful support network, but also the amazing mothers and fathers who have opened their hearts and minds to support other parents living through different stages of our world of prematurity.
If you are a parent of a prematurely born child or would like to refer someone you know, please visit our support network, where you can request to join our closed group. Families requesting to join will receive a message from one of our facilitators as soon as possible.