Category Archives: Blogging for Better

Reading to NICU babies inspires foundation full of heart

My baby doesn’t belong in the NICU.

At least, that’s what I thought while I held my seven-pound, full-term newborn in a room surrounded by tiny preemies tucked away in incubators, fighting to survive.

My baby doesn’t belong.

Or, maybe, I don’t belong.

My NICU experience was fraction of the time other parents endure. I came to the hospital with a baby born under emergency conditions and left two days later with a healthy child. This is not a typical NICU story, and I often feel wrong putting myself in that club.

I have friends whose children spent weeks, even months in the hospital, their contact with their precious babies reduced to supervised hours and minimal privacy. I have friends who spent days watching their tiny miracles give their all to survive, only to succumb to the will of G-d. I witnessed other parents during my visits to the NICU, whose bravery never wavered in the face of uncertainty.

Even though, my child wasn’t in the NICU for long. The time I spent with him there taught me just how valuable a caring and supportive environment can be for both newborns and parents. As I sat there in that uncomfortable hospital chair, awkwardly trying to nurse my child without detaching the numerous wires affixed to his body, I listened to the sounds of nurses tirelessly rushing from incubator to incubator, checking vitals and comforting bewildered parents. Because I was able to spend time with my child alone, I had the unique opportunity to observe other families and empathize with their hopes, fears and dreams.

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Because I (article author) was able to spend time with my child alone, I had the unique opportunity to observe other families and empathize with their hopes, fears and dreams.

One common connection between all NICU families, as this immense feeling of gratitude. Even those who’ve experienced the greatest of loss, still find meaning and purpose in the midst of tragedy. These parents are an inspiration and a reminder how hope can shine through the darkest of moments.

One such mother is Stacey Skrysak, a journalist and writer who, along with her husband Ryan founded Triple Heart Foundation in honor of their premature triplets, Peyton, Parker and Abby. Born in 2013 at just a little more than 22 weeks gestation, only Peyton survived, with Abby passing shortly after birth and Parker passing in the NICU at nearly two months old. Continue reading

Blogging for Better: The Voices and Faces Project

As a writer myself, I can vouch for the power of words, which is why I am honored to introduce our next Blogging for Better charity:

The Voices and Faces Project

Gender-based violence impacts the lives of millions, forever changing how they experience the world. We hear about the suffering they face, but, far too frequently, those stories are told through the eyes of the legal system, the media, the general public, and not through the lens of the survivors themselves. Fear, shame, anger and resentment often prevents these survivors from sharing their stories; stories that need to be heard; stories that need to be told.

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Enter the Voices and Faces Project, a nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of gender-based violence put their stories into words. Through writing workshops, trained advocates help survivors create memoirs, short stories, poetry and more to articulate their experiences. These creative works not only serve to heal, they bring a humanity to the often cold, statistical experience of gender-based violence. These survivors are not just numbers, they are humans with stories we all need to hear.

“Many survivors of sexual violence, myself included, find that sharing their stories can help them heal themselves, and heal others,” says Lea Grover, Special Projects Associate for the Voices and Faces Project.

“The Voices and Faces Project’s testimonial writing workshop, “The Stories We Tell,” connects survivors to each other and helps them develop the tools to turn their experiences into action. It opens doors to advocacy and activism in many forms, and graduates of the workshop have gone on to write books, found their own organizations, and do the work of making the world safer for both those who have survived sexual violence and those who are at risk of experiencing it.”

The Voices and Faces Project covers the cost of the workshop for everyone who is accepted, which is why contributions to this worthy cause are so needed.

Throughout the month of November, as part of our Blogging for Better efforts, myself and others will be promoting the Voices and Faces Project, bringing attention to and raising funds for this worthy cause.

If you are blogger, writer or social media influencer interested in learning more about Blogging for Better, please email me at maybeillshowertoday at gmail dot com. You can also request to join our private Facebook group here.

 

 

Blogging for Better: Sanctuary for Families

I started this blog five years ago as a way to share the joys and hardships of parenting with others who can relate to my experiences. One of my goals was to build a big enough platform to reach those whose needs go beyond what I can do with words alone (not that words aren’t important!) About two years ago, I tossed around the idea of promoting different philanthropies each month, and growing a network of bloggers to support them. For some reason, I never did anything.

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Today, that changes. Today, I am launching what I hope to be the first of many in a monthly series I am calling, “Blogging for Better.” Each month, I will feature a new charity, often one that is not a huge national philanthropy, which dedicates itself to serving children, families, mothers and other vulnerable groups. I pledge to only feature charities that I have personally supported.

With that, I would like to announce my first “Blog for Better” cause:

Sanctuary for Families

Violence against women and children impacts thousands of families every year, which is why I am supporting Sanctuary for Families.

From the Sanctuary for Families website:

“Sanctuary for Families is New York’s¬†leading service provider and
advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related
forms of gender violence.”

This incredible organization helps victims of abuse escape from a life of pain and suffering by providing shelter, legal counsel, career training and more.

If you would like to support Sanctuary for Families, please click here.

To learn more about Sanctuary for Families services, click here.

(Note if you are a New Yorker in immediate danger and need to take discreet action, Sanctuary for Families offers a secure option for you. Just click on the “Escape” button found on the web site.)

Thank you so much in joining me in blogging for better. If you have a blog, please consider joining me in building a network of bloggers supporting wonderful causes. E-mail me at maybeillshowertoday@gmail.com with the subject line: Blogging for Better.

Let’s make the world a better place, one blog post at a time.