Two second hug or ear for an hour?
When I first started to think about volunteering and where I would like to do that - I watched the video, I think many of us have seen of an older person cuddling a young baby who needed to be comforted...... and I thought - I would love to do that. I can go in and spend a few hours a week cuddling a baby who needs comfort.
I think as human beings, especially if you are anything like me - we want to reach out and comfort people who are in need as a immediate response with a hug, it is our way to show care sometimes.
So initially when I understood that I would not be holding any baby, I was a little perplexed. Surely that is the point - that is what I can offer - that is what I want to get out of this. I had to take a minute - this is not about me - this is about the family who needs support during a very difficult time.
When I really thought about it - the baby's medical needs are being taken care of by the amazing medical staff - who have trained for many years to be able to provide excellent care. In reality I would be terrified to pick up a premature or sick baby - I felt that way with my own child - let alone someone else' precious bundle.
But who is taking care of the parents?
Would a mum want her premature or sick baby to be held be a stranger? HECK NO!!! Mum quite rightly wants to hold her baby and may only get to do that for short periods of time. But what that Mum or Dad might appreciate is someone to listen to their concerns or to talk about something mundane that has happened during the day to make the day a little bit more normal, than lots of machines and medical terminology.
This is what I am training and preparing for - to support the parents/carers of these children - so almost putting an invisible arm around the family
That feels pretty good - I hope to put an invisible arm on the shoulder of many families who need and want it