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Peer Support 

Our Peer Support Program is designed to provide ongoing support to a parent navigating childhood illness, hospitalizations, and/or child loss. 

 

Parents are matched with a Praying Through volunteer who has navigated a similar experience. The volunteer provides a listening ear, shared experience and understanding, and one-on-one prayer and encouragement via the preferred method of communication at least once a week for however long the parent would appreciate support.

Taylor, Pennsylvania

"My peer support was someone who provided encouragement, hope, love, and experience. Someone who grieved with me, celebrated with me.  A constant that I could rely on in all of the inconstant."

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I ever meet my Peer Support? 

It is very unlikely that you will ever meet your Peer Support in person. Peer Supports at this time are a virtual (by phone/email) support only, but this is a hope for the future of our program. 

What “qualifies” my Peer Support?

All Peer Supports have experience with their own child journeying through childhood illness, hospitalizations, or experiencing child loss. They are also required to read educational documents as an informal training on topics like active listening and Postpartum Depression, as well as sign a Peer Support Agreement. 

What will my Peer Support do with what I share?

This information is to be kept confidential, unless stated otherwise, or deemed unsafe. You will however be asked to complete an optional anonymous survey about your care to better improve our Peer Support program.

What if I no longer wish to receive support?

This is a voluntary, optional program. If you no longer wish to connect, we ask that if you can, just notify your Peer Support that you no longer need this program’s support.

What if my child leaves the NICU, but still has ongoing needs that I would like support for?

There is not a set timeline for our program. It is until you and your Peer Support decide that you have reached your goal and you no longer feel the support is needed.

Why Choose a
Peer Support?

  • According to the March of Dimes, roughly 30,000 (1 in 10) babies are born pre-term (before 37 weeks) each month in the United States alone, and 1 in 4 women experience pregnancy loss. 

  • Pre-term babies are more likely to have hospital stays and long term health issues. These are contributing factors to increased stress and declining mental health among parents. 
     

  • Parents who receive ongoing support, like our 1:1 Peer Support, are more likely to feel that they are not alone, can feel seen in their experiences, and often have a better chance to become resilient, feel empowered, and heal. 

  • Parents who receive a Peer Support connection can also have higher confidence, problem solving capacity, coping, acceptance of their situation, and self-esteem.

 

https://www.marchofdimes.org/prematurity-awareness-month

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4694192/

https://publications.aap.org/pediatrics/article/145/6/e20193567/76949/Helping-Parents-Cope-in-the-NICU?autologincheck=redirected

Jessika 1:1 Peer Support
Angelica 1:1 Peer Support

Hannah

Jessika

Angelica

I am the mother of three children. Our youngest is now one year old. She had a 10 day stay in our local NICU due to difficulties in diagnosing elevated liver enzymes, later diagnosed as a combination of effects from a shunt and rare blood incompatibility. Following discharge, we attended ongoing appointments with hematology and GI for several months, as well as received weekly labs. We are now currently connected with Neuro after a recent diagnosis of mild cerebral palsy impacting one leg, and benign cysts that are awaiting genetic testing. I would love to support a parent beginning a similar journey with prayer, identifying resources, encouragement, and as a listening ear.

I am a mother of three precious kiddos. I’m holistic and earthy-crunchy by nature; I had all three of my children naturally, the last two being at-home water births. But when my third child was born at 42 weeks and unexpectedly sick in December of 2019, we found ourselves in a 37-day NICU stay and in a place where God used modern medicine to save our son. Our son really stumped the medical professionals in that they were all over the place with possible genetic disorders, none of which ended up being correct. We navigated seizures, hyperbillirubinemia, liver failure and the possibility of a transplant, a rare liver condition, and near-fatal low blood sugar that resulted in a ketonic hypoglycemia diagnosis. We also navigated a lot of out-patient labs, some feeding therapy, GI appointments, endocrinology, and severe allergies and eczema. Administering medicines and shots at home, something I never thought I could do, have become part of our daily life. I would love to support a parent who might also find herself at a crossroads of having to let go of expectations or established ways of doing things and instead walk by faith and surrender to God. I would be honored to support a mother through prayer and encouragement.

I am a mom to 4-year-old twin girls. The girls were born early and spent 60 days in the NICU. One of my twins had heart surgery at 18 months, and the other has diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). We still see several specialists ongoing. I am a Greek Melkite Catholic, and I prayed to St. Gianna during my emergency c-section at 27 weeks. I have a counseling background and volunteer with a patient advisory committee at my local hospital. I want families to hear from someone who has "been there, done that" times 2, and understands that the journey doesn't often end after you leave the hospital. I want families to know there is hope.

Charissa 1:1 Peer Support
Hannah 1:1 Peer Support

Charissa

I am a mom to a three year old little girl. My daughter was born at 29 weeks and spent 304 days in the NICU. In the NICU she fought many respiratory infections and had surgeries. She was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder called Kat6b. She is trach dependent, partially ventilator dependent, and gtube dependent. She was readmitted twice to the PICU for pneumonia. She has a clubbed foots and contractures of her knees and has had two surgeries to correct them. She is still trach dependent and Gtube dependent but is being weaned off the ventilator. She started her first year of school. We are battling finding and keeping good nurses to go to school with her. It is an eye opener realizing that your child’s education is in the hands of nurses. For two and a half years I was her sole care-giver 24/7. I truly understand how exhausting, yet rewarding, it is to be a medical mom and I would love to be a listening ear, as well as provide prayer and understanding to another mom of a medically complex child.

Valerie 1:1 Peer Support

Valerie

After becoming a mom to my two oldest children, a third surprise pregnancy ultimately resulted in giving birth to twin boys via an emergency Cesarean section at only 23-weeks gestation. It was a  heartbreaking goodbye to my son just 22 minutes after his birth, and my other son spent 296 days in the NICU before being released with full-time 24 hour in-home medical care. He is faced with medical and special needs challenges Beyond the NICU. I am passionate about helping families navigate the unimaginable pain of perinatal and neonatal bereavement, as well as to address the often unspoken difficulties that come with having a child in the newborn intensive care unit. From facing the unknowns of a high-risk pregnancy to walking through the unique challenges of having a special needs child, I long to encourage and equip others to stand firm in their faith in God no matter what circumstances they may be up against. 

Madison 1:1 Peer Support Grief

Madison

I am a mother to two earthly babies and two heavenly babies. I had a missed miscarriage with my son at 13 weeks and lost my daughter (a twin) around 8 weeks. I love forming relationships and providing encouragement and prayer to others. I have been so encouraged by the members and volunteers of Praying Through Ministries myself that it brings me joy to be able to play a small role!

Susie 1:1 Peer Support

Susie

I am a mother of 7 children. My youngest spent 23 days in the NICU, and has trisomy 21. I have also been a birth and bereavement doula for the last 8 years. I feel that God has allowed me to meet women in vulnerable places, and to help advocate for them. I would love to be an encouragement and listening ear to a new mom navigating life as a special needs parent.

Meet Our Peer Supports

Katie 1:1 Peer Support Grief

Katie

Katie has walked through griefshare and is working toward a degree in Chaplaincy. She is a member of Maverick City Music's choir. Katie has lost 3 babies to miscarriage since 11/22 and had 12 surgeries since 2015. Katie would like to walk alongside another parent experiencing the grief of child loss and provide prayer, encouragement, and a listening ear. 

Brittany

I have one living son who is 9 years old. Since having him, I have experienced 4 pregnancy losses. My most recent two losses were late term miscarriages at 15 and 16 weeks in 2020 and 2021. In the summer of 2022, I had an emergency partial hysterectomy which brought my journey of being able to carry another baby to an end. The last couple of years, I have walked and been carried through a lot of grief with losing my babies and then grieving not being able to carry another child. My passion is helping others in any way I can to navigate their losses. I know the deep pain loss brings, but I also know that joy and suffering can coexist and I want to be able to encourage others to lean into their Heavenly Father during these times. I am currently working towards a specialization in grief and loss coaching.

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Krystal

 Krystal has 3 children earthside and one safe in the arms of the Lord. She spent weeks in the hospital with placental abruption and every day felt like eternity. Every day we were faced with all the thoughts and ideas we had zero control over. God had bigger plans. Krystal's  son  went to be with the Lord at 24 weeks gestation. This put her world and her family's world upside down. This is where she met Jesus the son of the living God and He changed everything! He has been healing her and her family day by day ever since. She truly believes faith changes everything and there is hope in the darkest days. She would be honored to pray and walk alongside you in your suffering and just be here for you. There is hope. ”To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”“ ‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭61‬:‭3‬

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Gina

I am primarily a homeschool mom and work part time as a chiropractor. Our daughter went to be with Jesus at 29 weeks as part of a twin pregnancy. She was born nine weeks later with her sister. From 12 weeks she measured small, and a heart condition and genetic issues  were suspected. It was considered a high risk pregnancy. Today, we go on outings in memory of her as a family. Her impact on others far outmatches her size. I would love to give encouragement, a listening ear, understanding, and prayer to a family navigating child loss. Our journey with her has taught us so much about His goodness, His power, His control, and His promises.

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Mitchell

I am a mother to one precious little girl. During pregnancy, we had found out that she had significant abnormalities with her heart and would require immediate surgery to repair when she was born. Due to growth restrictions and fear of a progressively smaller heart, she was delivered at 37 weeks and was immediately placed in the Pediatric Cardiology ICU at MUSC in Charleston. She required open heart surgery at 13 days old to correct a full Coarctation of the Aorta and, surprise, a small hole. Due to massive swelling, she had her chest open for 3 days. I could physically see the miracle of my child’s heart pumping. Following chest closure, breathing tube removal, and swallow studies completed, she was finally discharged from the PCICU after 37 days. She will be followed by a cardiologist for the rest of her life. I have learned throughout this whole ongoing experience that the power of prayer is beyond all understanding. I would love to support any parent or family during their journey through prayer and encouragement from one Heart Mom to another.

Joanna

Joanna

I am a mom to 2 children. My son is 6 and my daughter (now 2) was diagnosed with Down syndrome during pregnancy. We spent 114 days in the NICU due to breathing and feeding difficulties. We have since had 2 brief hospitalizations due to illnesses and a PICU stay following a surgery. We have navigated life at home with medical complexity and some extra equipment, as well as therapies that help her grow and thrive. I hope to be someone who can listen, support, and encourage families walking through disability, hospitalization, and daily living with a medically complex child. There is so much hope and joy here. I would be honored to pray for and with you and your family, as well as share resources we have found over the last few years.


“...who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. “ 2 Corinthians 1:4

Requesting Peer Support

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