Can you briefly tell us about your NICU experience?

It was a roller coaster ride. No days were the same. The information communicated to us changed constantly. It was hard, tough, emotional and draining. My eyes and ears captured things I felt like we should have never saw and heard. It feels like I got to experience God’s work being done right in front of my eyes.

What was the hardest part about your NICU stay?

For the first three months, we didn’t know if my son Kareem would make it. Not knowing but still fighting for his life everyday was the hardest.

How would you describe the period immediately after your son was discharged from the NICU?  

Overwhelming. My son came home on oxygen, a feeding tube and pulse ox machine.

Do you feel like your family and friends understood what you were going through?

No, not at all. I felt more connected to the NICU staff and people I met in the NICU.

How do you balance caring for your child, managing a household and practicing self-care?

My son is 4 and it’s still a struggle today. I try my best to be mindful, set limits/boundaries in areas of my life so I know when I need self-care, putting on my mommy hat and managing home. Not overloading myself. 

What advice would you give to parents for after their child is discharged from the NICU?  

Find a village, a person or even a therapist to talk to. You need support. I found myself feeling lonely at times because no one outside the NICU life understood me. There was no outside NICU support groups that I was aware of in my area.  

Why did you decide to become an advocate for premature babies?  

Because my experience left a permanent scar on my soul. I want other families to feel supported as much as possible.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you are working on?  

Yes, I am currently writing a memoir titled “22 and 6 Born on 11/26” where I share my story on delivering my son at home alone just 22 weeks pregnant. I give my personal 6 months NICU journey in detail. 

Is there anything else that you would like to share? 

Sure, to any NICU family out there please know you are not alone. There is a whole community out in the world ready to embrace you with open arms. 

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