In my Prenatal Yoga and Childbirth Education classes, I stress the importance of having plan A, B, C and D. You never know how the wild nature of birth will flow. Teachers and educators encourage expectant parents to not skip the “scary sections” they may wish to avoid. But many people are unprepared for the possibility of life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, aka, the NICU.
Every year 10-15 percent of babies born in America spend some time in the NICU. In this episode of Yoga|Birth|Babies, I speak with Evelyn Gama, a licensed mental health therapist and mother to a NICU baby. Evelyn’s son was born at 26 weeks old and spent several months in the NICU. Evelyn opens up about that challenging time and how she reorganized life to straddle the world of being fully available for her new baby and still being the mother to a toddler at home. This episode is so important for the unexpected turns labor can bring or to support a friend or loved one in the midst of this experience.
In this episode:
- Evelyn’s time with a baby in the NICU.
- How can parents prepare if they know there is a chance their baby will be in the NICU.
- The importance of having a “back up” plan in case your child has a NICU stay.
- Services parents can use that can help support them during this time.
- The importance of establishing a schedule of daily life.
- How to bond with your baby in the NICU.
- How to prepare for going home without baby.
- Advice for the birthing parent to help themselves since they may be physically and emotionally recovering from birth and trying to process having a baby in the NICU.
- The use of Music Therapy in the NICU.
- Early intervention for a baby in the NICU.
- One thing Evelyn wishes someone had told her while going through that time.
- Transitioning home with a new baby after the NICU?
- Ways friends and family can help at this time.
Resources mentioned in the podcast:
The Ronald McDonald House: https://www.rmhc.org
The Motherhood Center https://www.themotherhoodcenter.com/
Evelyn sees individuals, couples, and moms and babies. She also runs two groups: Between Parents – the special needs support group and a limited series Birth Processing Group that runs in the fall and in the spring.
Evelyn Gama is a licensed mental health therapist with a private practice in New York City. Evelyn specializes in perinatal mental health, including therapy related to fertility, prenatal and postpartum concerns as well as dyadic attachment work with infant and parent. Evelyn facilitates a special needs parent support group and a birth processing group. She has developed and facilitated corporate workshops focused on Return to Work and New Father Preparedness. Evelyn relies on her background in family therapy in all of her perinatal work and considers the well-being of the family system as a whole.
Evelyn is the mom of two boys, one of whom has special needs. She has a special passion for helping families who experience a stay in the NICU or who are parenting a special needs child.