Inside the NICU

Crocheting helps high-risk & NICU moms overcome challenging times

Written by Kerry Grier

What do you do when after a routine appointment and you suddenly find yourself on bed rest – for days, weeks, months? This is a question many mothers on our High Risk unit are faced with.

The outside world recedes and you are left with your thoughts and four walls. The excellent care provided by Sunnybrook’s Women and Babies team is reassuring, but doesn’t help with the feelings of powerlessness, anxiety and stress felt by mums trying to get through the next day, the next week to enable their babies to grow stronger.

With this in mind, a knitting and crochet program has started in Sunnybrook’s Centre for Resources & Information: Birth, Babies & Beyond (CRIB) to help pass the time. Knitting has been shown to lower blood pressure and give a much-needed sense of calm in a stressful situation.

On any given day you may find first-time mothers, experienced mothers, mothers with babies in the NICU,  joined by a common thread. They are here to weave their thoughts and prayers for their babies into beautiful blankets, tiny hats and sweaters, one stitch at a time. We talk about what they are making, how they are feeling, and learn each other’s names. There are dropped stitches, tea and laughter. There is companionship and a circle of support.

Jasmine, pregnant with identical twin girls, said, “I learned how to do a row and make a blanket. We ended up talking and time passed so fast. I was so excited to continue on my blanket in the hopes of getting two done. My days started to get better when I started crocheting, I began to have a more positive outlook on my situation during a very hard time. Every time I picked up the wool and started crocheting I felt good knowing that one day this would keep my babies warm.”

At a time when you have so much time on your hands and yet so little between pumping milk, checking on your baby, lying with a monitor strapped to your belly, you can choose to do this; make something for your baby, yourself, your older children. This garment will be proof that you got through this challenging time.

The CRIB is located on M5 102 and is open from Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We gratefully accept donations of wool, needles and crochet hooks.

About the author

Kerry Grier

Kerry Grier is a Patient Education Specialist at Sunnybrook.

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