A LACK of support for premature babies in Gippsland has inspired one mother to establish a support group of her own.
When Rachel Smithson’s daughter Abigail was born eight weeks early, Ms Smithson said she had to use online resources and the help of a national charity in Melbourne to better understand the needs of her baby.
“Unless you know someone who has had a premature baby, no one knows what it’s like,” Ms Smithson said.
“Without the medical technology of today (Abigail) would probably not have survived.
“Support for regional people is just as important as people in the city.”
Following her research Ms Smithson found Life’s Little Treasures Foundation – a charity dedicated to providing support, friendship and information, specifically tailored for families of children born sick or premature.
However, after finding the organisation did not have a centre in Gippsland, Ms Smithson took it upon herself to set one up.
“For the last 12 months I’ve been a big advocate for premature babies,” she said.
“When I spoke to the foundation they were happy to help me set one up here.
“One parent expressed interest and I know other friends who are looking for a group as well.”
The ‘Playgroup/Support Group for Parents with Premature Babies’ will be having its first meeting on Friday 10am to noon.
Ms Smithson added the group aimed to meet on the last Friday of each month to discuss and share their experiences they have had with premature babies.
“It not only gives parents a support group but also provides a support network for kids,” Ms Smithson said.
The support group will be meeting at the Maternal and Child Health Centre, 34/38 Kay Street, Traralgon.
For more information visit http://www.lifeslittletreasures.org.au/prematurity-resources/support-for-families/support-groups/