It is undeniable that when a child is born into the world, it is meant to be a time full of joy and celebration. For parents of prematurely born babies, much of this joy and celebration is replaced by feelings of fear and anxiety. Oftentimes, rather than being able to hold their newborn in their arms, these parents must initially wait to do so and are allowed minimal direct contact with their preemies. This is indubitably a tough time for these parents.
Years ago, following a generous donation of scrapbooking supplies, the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center (MFCH) decided to begin a scrapbooking program particularly for parents of babies in the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (RNICU). Since its institution, this program has allowed for parents of RNICU babies to meet on Monday afternoons from 2:00PM-4:00PM to scrapbook their baby's journey in the hospital. This way, when they leave MFCH, the families will have a tangible record of their child's journey.
In addition to being a time when parents can create a scrapbook of memories and milestones in their child's life, this program brings together families who are in similar situations. By doing so, parents are able to share their emotions with others who are unfortunately in a similar situation. In this sense, the program can also be an unofficial support group for these parents.
Although this is such a great program, it does not always have the supplies that it needs in order to flourish properly. By creating the project "Better Days for Hospital Stays," Lauren Steinitz has made it her mission to ensure that this program is always available to the parents who wish to utilize it. Steinitz sees true value in the program, and believes that it is a great way for parents in this situation to unwind and reflect on the important milestones in their child's young life.