Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tiny Babies, Fragile Families

The Austin American-Statesman has a wonderful feature about the mental health effects on families of having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). The writer of the article is a social services reporter who had three sons: one born at 22 weeks (who died), one born nearly at full term, and a third who was born a few years ago at 24 weeks. She suffered depression and had difficulty bonding with her baby after he was born--and wondered whether other moms or dads faced the same challenges.

Then she remembered about the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism and applied for a grant to research and write about the mental health of NICU families. The result of her work is a wonderful series of truly honest interviews with families who have endured the NICU experience.

So much of what we read in the news glosses over the difficulties that NICU babies and families face and the hardships they must overcome. This article is different and worth reading.

The mom of one of the children profiled, Victor LeBourgeois, is on the Preemie-Child listserv I'm on (for parents of school-age preemies). His story is amazing and heart-breaking.

Here is the article:

You might have to register to get access to the article, but it's a pretty easy process and you can easily elect not to get added to the mailing list.

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