With SNUG supporting so many families and creating such a wonderful network of people across Devon, all of whom are attuned to the neonatal world, it made sense to extend a specific arm of support to Dad’s and partners. At such a time of crisis it’s quite natural and common for us to place the focus on the Mum and the baby but in reality it’s a lot for all of us to take on.
DAPA has brought together a group of people who have all experienced time in hospital with their babies, for different reasons and for varying lengths of time but who are open and honest about their journeys and how it has impacted them. These DAPA families have been able to give an insight into the genuine feelings, emotions, fears and anxieties that can develop and offer valuable opinions on how things can be made better for the next generation of neonatal parents.
Starting with our Facebook group, the first step was recruiting Dad’s from all across the county, some of whom I had shared my own journey with and others who had experienced the reach of SNUG in the hospitals first hand. These parents were offered a place where thoughts could be shared, opinions put forward and ideas encouraged, all in a relaxed, trusting environment. The uptake was gradual but the depth of understanding and care from our members has been phenomenal, each with a story to tell and a voice which will help shape the future.
The group has engaged well through our Facebook page and brought forward some interesting thoughts, all of which have been reinforced during our online catch-ups and our DAPA meet ups. The power of getting people together was apparent during our first meet up as 5 of us spent time chatting about the past, present and future with our little ones, the feelings and emotions we all shared, frustrations and potential solutions to some of the more prevalent issues.
One thing was very clear; the sense of togetherness and pride in what we are all trying to achieve and the strength of support that can be generated from like minded people, with a passion for making things better for others.
From our general chats, comments and meet-ups so far, some emerging themes have become apparent, all of which come from the desire to ensure that the issues we face are well understood and supported in the future. These have ranged from the simple things such as making sure partners are supported through transfers to other challenges such as managing the long-term psychological impact of the whole experience.
The real value of DAPA comes from the variety of people involved, honesty of opinion, levels of care and openness to share and we are excited to see how far it can grow and what influence it can have on the future for neonatal partners in Devon.