|Faith is the bird that sings|
when the dawn is still dark.
"Have Faith" was an acronym that I developed for the paper that I wrote on "Identifying, Understanding, and Working with Grieving Parents in the NICU" as a way to encourage parents to have faith, in their child, themselves, the NICU professionals and the healing process.
"Have Faith" stands for
Hope.Another Interesting Perspective on Faith
Accept life changes.
Verbalize questions, emotions, and concerns.
Engage with supportive friends and family.
Empathize with other parents.
Fortitude to endure the experience.
Adaptability. Being able to roll with the waves.
Incredible courage to survive day to day.
Trust in your baby yourself, physicians, and the team.
Healing in whatever forms it may take.
I stumbled upon another view of Faith in the NICU setting, this one from Shoshana Greenspan. In her article from May 2007, she writes of the challenges she faced in coping with her son's NICU admission and then with his eventual diagnosis with Cerebral Palsy.
Shoshana initially believed that when her son was in the NICU if she could remain in control of every factor that affected his life, that somehow she might be able to cure him. Her outlook shifted after remembering an encounter with a Hasidic family during her time in the NICU. For her these grandparents "demonstrated a profound understanding of the principles of faith by recognizing that control is not in our hands."
Instead of wanting to control every aspect of their granddaughter's treatment and care, this family wanted to understand her condition, but made no attempt to remain in control. Instead, with their faith they believed that God was in full control of their granddaughter’s fate. They realized that "Grilling the nurses would not change the fact that neither the parents, nurses nor even the doctors were in charge."
After remembering this family and their perspective on faith, Shoshana's own perspective changed as she writes below:
I no longer pray for all his difficulties to disappear overnight. I pray that he receive the appropriate therapy and treatment that will enable him to lead a full and meaningful life. I pray that God lead us to the doctors who will accurately diagnose and treat his various medical issues. Above all, I pray that God give me the strength to accept my son for who he is, with his unique strengths and weaknesses, just as I accept the strengths and weaknesses of my other children.Shoshana's sentiments are very similar to the ones echoed in the post last week in Asking Why and Finding Hope. In order to cope with the challenges parents find an internal core of strength and learn to accept their NICU baby to support their child in leading a meaningful life.Shoshana Greenspan
Dyer KA. Identifying, Understanding, and Working with Grieving Parents in the NICU, Part II: Strategies. Neonatal Network. June/July 2005; 24: 27-40.
Shoshana Greenspan. May 2007. Faith in the NICU. http://www.aish.com/family/heart/Faith_in_the_NICU.asp
Photo Source: Danny de Bruyne. Boring Winter. Royalty Free Use.