The experience of having a baby come into the world far earlier than expected is hugely life-changing, overwhelming and often traumatic. Small and Mighty Babies is a new support group for ‘Dubai babies born a little too soon’, founded by Joanne Hanson, mama to George who was born 10 weeks prematurely.
Small and Mighty Babies not only provides access to valuable resources and contacts but also offers the chance for mamas of premature newborns much-needed non-medical support. This group of mamas, whose paths crossed when their babies were born early, spent all day every day together for weeks and months until each one eventually left the hospital NICU unit. Meeting regularly each month, they now also welcome new mamas of teeny tinies born too soon into their amazing group, helping with everything from the hospital journey to the transition home and beyond. The Small and Mighty mamas meet at various venues across Dubai and also attend evenings for parents of babies in the City Hospital NICU unit to provide very valuable comfort and support.
This is Joanne’s story….
Small and Mighty became my calling when our son George was born prematurely in May 2013. It was quite a traumatic experience, I was on my own as my husband was abroad and within 40 minutes I had gone from a girl in heels enjoying the excitement of pending motherhood to the sudden thud of…I am a parent and my baby boy isn’t meant to be here just yet.
Any mother of a premature baby will testify that you can never prepare yourself, know what to expect or be ready for your baby coming early – it’s the sort of thing you think will never happen to you. The first few weeks after George’s birth were just a merry-go-round of blurred days in NICU, breast pumps, tears and my constant hope that every day he would keep fighting, grow stronger, learn to feed and come home.
Our neonatal doctor had encouraged me to not google anything, saying ‘If you have a question then ask me’. I remember those words echoing around the room and thought to myself, well we all know what curiosity did to the cat! I kept my promise to George’s doctor as after all, it’s so easy to get swept away with the “too much information and not enough knowledge” syndrome. But this got me thinking, what if I want to talk to someone who isn’t medical, cry about silly things like never having my hospital bag (sounds crazy but it’s one thing that really got to me) or not knowing where to find tiny baby essentials. I spoke to the other girls in NICU and they had similar feelings and thoughts to me and this I suppose is when my heart started to beat again, beat in a way that told me that some good could come out of the situation. Through creating Small and Mighty, we have been able to share our excellent contacts in Dubai for when your baby may need that extra support, provide details on where to buy everything from premature baby clothes to beautiful incubator liners but more importantly to exist for all those parents who find themselves in a situation for which they are totally unprepared and to be there for them and their Small and Mighty ones.
If you are a mama to a premature baby or if you would like any further information, please visit www.smallandmightybabies.com.