I just finished reading a book that you might be interested in. It's called I Will Not Be Broken by Jerry White.
The author is a recognized leader of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning International Campaign to Ban Landmines, and co-founder of Survivor Corps (formerly Landmine Survivors Network). In 1984, Jerry lost his leg—and almost his life—in a landmine accident. He has endured the pain of loss and the challenge of rebuilding.
I Will Not Be Broken is a book devoted to helping people overcome a life crisis. I have to be honest with you. When the Survivor Corp's offered to send me a copy to read/review, my first thought was "this isn't right for me or my readers." Just to make sure, I read the first couple of chapters and found out more about the concept of the book. I quickly realized that this book WAS a good book for me and other preemie parents. Having a baby who is born premature is certainly a life crisis and the after effects of it can stick with you for a long time. There are a lot of books about prematurity but many of them don't deal with the personal feelings and deep impact that it can have on parents and other family members. There is a tremendous amount of guilt, confusion, anger, sadness, etc. that comes with having a baby born too soon. I definitely think this book can help parents get past the devastating effects of having a premature baby and the issues that come with it.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Jerry has put together five (5) steps for overcoming a life crisis. In between Jerry's own perspective and comments on the steps and how to get through them are stories from other survivors. The ability of these survivor's to not only just get on with things but to really live life after a crisis is truly inspiring. I felt motivated and encouraged just be reading their stories. The steps that Jerry discusses are:
- Face Facts - preemie parents have to do this step pretty darn fast. Whether you get 3 months or 3 minutes to "prepare" for a premature birth, it doesn't really hit you until you enter the NICU and see your little one hooked up to monitors, ventilators, feeding pumps, etc. You don't get time to take it all in and really digest it because right away you are there trying to make the right decisions for your little one.
- Choose Life - I've noticed that a lot of the time parents of preemies find themselves retreating from the world. Many people don't understand what you are going through and sometimes there can be too many things to deal with. It's important however to try and move past this and choose to be a part of the world. Take care of you and take care of your little one with the help of others.
- Reach Out - This is also important for preemie parents - finding a way to reach out. Whether it's through a hospital support group, an online message board, other parents in the NICU - finding a way to connect can help yourself and others through the painful process both in the NICU and at home.
- Get Moving - This is a tough one. Especially when your preemie is in the NICU. Try to keep going with your life. Make new goals and plans. Find a way to move forward (even if your little one is taking a step back at the moment).
- Give Back - I firmly believe in this step. Giving back can be a really great way to feel like you can help other parents and babies. Whether you volunteer for the March of Dimes, make hats for babies in the NICU or get involved in some other way, giving back can really help you feel better and move forward.
If you would like to find out more information about the book or the author, you can go here. Also, the author Jerry White is going to be on ABC's Good Morning America this Thursday August 7th at 8:45am. I would encourage you to listen in and see what you think.