Trace Adkins sings; dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’, one kid’s cryin’, one kid’s screamin’. Let’s add a pandemic and quarantine and being teacher, employee, parent and recreation director all at once and I say, no. I don’t think I’m gonna miss this.
Life right now is complicated and messy. Not to mention, scary. In my work with parents who have infants with medical issues, developmental delays, complications of prematurity or social-emotional problems, I see parents who are exhausted and at the end of their rope. And, because they parent a fragile child during a pandemic, they are alone, isolated and worried about the health of their baby.
Nurturing Newborns, LLC (nurturingnewborns.com) provides short term respite care in the homes of families with special children. They were born too early. They were born with physical disabilities. They have genetic conditions. Their brain is missing connections. They are sweet and loved and wonderful. They need and deserve experienced and thoughtful care. My staff (God Bless Them!!) provides this kind of care and much, much more. Nurturing the ENTIRE family is our goal and our privilege.
Then, March 2020 came along. Tears were shed by my entire staff as we had to push the pause button and stay home. So, the single mother with the baby with arm deformities wasn't able to apply for jobs, the parents of a failure to thrive baby had appointments with specialists delayed, the mother of premature triplets wasn’t able to get the rest she needed to parent her five children. I could go on and on.
At Nurturing Newborns, we felt frantic and helpless. Then, as we tend to do, we regrouped. We set up a protocol of temperature taking, mask and glove wearing. I searched websites and talked to professionals about how we could get back into homes. We wondered together whether our families would ever feel comfortable having us provide respite. We worried together and prayed together.
One by one, our families reached out. They needed and wanted the support and encouragement that my staff provides through respite care. We discovered that wearing a mask frightened many of our little ones because sadly, they had a history with people wearing a medical mask. We took them off. We fed, cuddled, rocked and reconnected with those in need and it felt great.
I’m not gonna miss the disaster of a pandemic. However, at Nurturing Newborns, we welcomed the return to kid’s cryin’ and kid’s screamin’. We are alive and kicking. That’s the place to be.