After giving birth to a premature baby, an Australian mom developed a special way to bring hope to other parents with infants in the NICU.
Amy Purling is the creator of Miracle Mumma ― a blog and online store offering products for parents of preemies. One of her biggest sellers is her series of milestone cards to track every step in a preemie’s journey and celebrate their progress. The milestones range from first snuggles to first weight gain to first day without wires.
Purling told The Huffington Post the project was inspired by her son, James, who was born just 30 weeks into her pregnancy and spent the first five weeks of his life in the NICU.
“It was the toughest thing we have ever experienced,” she said. “But each day I would sit by the side of his incubator scribbling in a journal and taking photos to document every little step he took and every little milestone he reached ― it was my way of coping.”
Though Purling had milestone cards for full-term babies, she found that none of those captured the special leaps that little fighters in the NICU take every day.
“I was celebrating milestones that seemed so simple to everyone else, such as his first suck of his dummy and finally being able to breathe on his own, but they were absolutely huge in the NICU world,” the mom explained.
“With each new milestone, we could breathe a sigh of relief and a weight was lifted from our shoulders,” she added. “Ultimately, each milestone meant James was getting stronger and was a step closer to coming home with us.”
The preemie milestone cards are available for purchase at the Miracle Mumma online store and The Preemie Store website. There are card packs for twins, baby boys and girls, as well as gender neutral options.
Purling said she’s received heartwarming feedback from parents who have purchased the cards for their preemies. Many send her updates and photos, and she enjoys staying in touch and following their babies’ progress. “I love being there to support them every step of the way,” she said.
In addition to the milestone cards, Purling has also launched a Facebook page for Miracle Mumma, which has become a sort of support network for preemie parents. The mom said she’s glad she’s been able to bring so many people together.
“I believe these cards give parents of premature babies something to look forward to and offer a glimmer of hope at a time that is so uncertain and frightening,” the mom said, noting that the cards can help parents break down the overwhelming experience and focus on each small step.
“One of my customers said these cards allow her to feel excited about something at such a difficult time ― she is able to celebrate the small things like any other parent would, and it somehow helps ‘normalize’ the precarious situation,” Purling added.
She’s also happy her work can raise awareness around premature birth and help others understand what preemies go through.
Ultimately, Purling wants preemie parents to know they are not alone.
“The NICU can be quite isolating, and parents may feel like others don’t understand ― but there is a community of preemie parents out there who get it,” she said. “I believe these milestone cards are helping to make this scary time just a little bit brighter for these families.”
H/T Daily Mail
HuffPost Parents offers a daily dose of personal stories, helpful advice and comedic takes on what it’s like to raise kids today. Learn more