Updated: Jan 31, 2021
My last post was all about my supportive family as I recounted some of the ways that they helped in my NICU journey. I also wanted to take some time to spotlight a few of my friends who have played an instrumental part in Laila's continued growth. It can be challenging to find friends who are supportive and willing to help when life gets rocky. I undoubtedly hit the jackpot with the group of ladies that God has sent into my life.
When I found out that I needed to remain in the hospital on bed rest, I told a few of my closest friends. Most of whom came to my bedside as soon as they were able to do so. They visited, brought snacks, sat with me, and provided me with much-needed laughs that eased my heart and took my mind off of my situation. There was a revolving door of friends who came to show their support and make my heavy days in the hospital lighter. I anticipated their visits that served as a distraction from the IV, monitor, and bedside commode that had become my constant companions.
I remember coming home from the hospital and receiving phone calls from friends checking to see how I was settling in while Laila was still in the NICU. I listened to their voices with gratitude for their presence during one of the most difficult times of my life. Those displays of love were my lifeline to some sense of normalcy when I felt as far from my ordinary as I had ever been.
Even though I acknowledged their support, sometimes it was difficult sharing my struggle with them since most of them had healthy, full-term pregnancies. I felt as if they wouldn't understand my journey. Eventually, I realized that their effort was more important than my feelings of insecurity about my position as the mother of a premature infant. I grew to realize the necessity of sharing my thoughts and receiving their support.
Shortly after bringing Laila home, one of my friends stopped by with a meal that she had prepared for my husband and me. I was so appreciative of that simple, yet kind gesture. It was special because I know that she had prepared that meal with us in mind and that it was a gift from the heart. I was also busy juggling my new responsibilities and her home-cooked meal took the important task of making dinner off of my to-do list. It made me reflect on how beneficial small acts of kindness can be, especially to a new mom with a premature baby.
A few of my friends even watched Laila for me when it was time to return to work on a part-time basis. One friend offered without being asked as she listened to me lament about my anxiety in hiring a nanny before I was ready to bring a stranger into our home. It was a relief to leave Laila with someone that I knew well and trusted.
Over the years, my friends and I have raised our children alongside each other. We find ways to bring them together as often as our schedules allow, which also ensures that we remain connected with one another as well. I’m so thankful that Laila and I have a group of amazing people in our lives who are more like family than friends.