Thursday, August 7, 2008
Support Groups vs. Support Hose
Honestly folks I swear that I never thought I was the kind of person who would need a support group. I really figured I would need support hose long before a support group. But then the fates decided to mess with my grand plan and not only did I need xanax and crocheting, but darn if I didn't find myself looking up ever preemei support group in the tri-state area and on the internet. Much like Goldilocks, the first few support groups I tried just didn't fit me. People were either too pie-in-the-sky or too doom-and-gloom or just downright dopey.
How did I decide which support groups to stick with? Well I found that following the criteria below really helped me decide which groups were right for me:
1. No one in the group cringed or looked away when they saw a picture of Eliza just after she was born. (Unlike quite a few family members and friends...you know who you are and no I haven't quite forgetten yet).
2. Each new member of the group is congratulated on the birth of their babies no matter how serious their condition or how early their birth. (I had people ignore the fact that Eliza had been born and one person actually sent me a sympathy card).
3. I never have to decipher things like ROP, AOP, RDS, BPD, NEC, IVH, CP, PVL, CPAP, BiPAP, etc. to the group.
4. No one in the group will ever tell me that Eliza should "catch up by 2."
5. We can have an intelligent discussion on the pharmaceutical mechanisms and side effects of most respiratory and gastro-intestinal medications, a discussion that is probably as informed as any discussion between pharmaceutical reps.
6. Everyone in the group knows what Early Intervention is and no one will ever ask if it is a 12 step program for preemies.
7. For those of us who tried and failed to breast feed we are never made to feel like pariahs for giving our babies formula.
8. No one in the group will ever tell me that Eliza is just a picky eater or suggest that giving her Cheerios will cure her feeding problems.
9. We can communally celebrate our children's victories, which would otherwise go unnoticed in the rest of the world, like rolling over for the first time well after their first birthday or learning to hold a crayon or eating one lonely french fry or not vomiting for 10 whole days.
10. Being able to sometimes laugh along with the only people who understand at the otherwise dire situations we often find ourselves in.
So for those of you who think support groups are only for overly needy members of society, just remember that a bottle of xanax and pair of support hose can only get you so far.