A Market Harborough woman has set up a cutting edge online community hub for mums who have had premature babies.
Frankie Harrison, 32, has launched the ground-breaking ‘virtual village’ with another mum called Georgie.
The venture to support and bring together like-minded empathetic mums has already attracted over 700 followers on their Instagram page – from as far away as the USA.
Frankie told the Harborough Mail: “It’s really taken off.
“There are mums with premature babies all over Harborough, the UK and indeed the world who can find it hard to talk about what they have been through to other people.
“So we have decided to found and create our very own online community to get behind each and every one of us.”
The pro-active clinical psychologist added: “We want to give these mums their very own voice.
“We have all been through this experience ourselves.
“Nothing can prepare you for it.
“One in 10 babies are premature – born before they are 37 weeks old.
“That’s a lot of women with a lot of babies born very early.
“But no one talks about it.
“Not the doctors, not the nurses, nobody,” said Frankie, whose tiny baby boy was born at 31 weeks in Kettering General Hospital in October 2019 weighing just 3lbs 1oz.
“He just came out of the blue.
“I only knew a couple of days before that this was happening.
“Some shell-shocked mums are told on the day!
“So I had to try to understand what was happening very quickly.
“And, of course, I hadn’t had time to buy the basic kit and equipment I needed – such as a pushchair, clothes, changing mat and so on.
“Thank goodness for Amazon as I spun into action while lying there in hospital after giving birth by C-section.”
The stunned mum-of-one said the incredible life-and-death drama unfolded after her blood pressure rocketed and she had protein in her urine.
“The hospital told me that I had pre-eclampsia and that I would need to have the baby imminently.
“I had just turned 31 weeks and I had no idea about what would happen next.
“I had my baby by emergency C-section in Kettering General Hospital at 31+1.
“I entered the world of the neonatal unit for the next five weeks of my life and the first five weeks of my baby’s life,” said Frankie, whose baby boy is doing “really well”.
“I didn’t get the experience that you see on the TV, no skin to skin, no breastfeeding, I didn’t even see my baby for the first 12 hours of his life.
“I met my baby through a plastic box, an incubator, that was doing the job that I was still supposed to be doing for him, helping him to breathe, helping him to keep warm and being fed through a tube in his nose.
“He was 3lbs 1oz when he was born.
“He had problems with his feeding and had to have a number of procedures to support him.
“At four weeks before his due date my little boy finally came home to Market Harborough.
“Since being home we have had various medical problems such as reflux, cow’s milk intolerance, colic, laryngomalacia and haemangiomas.
“He is now 13 months old and doing incredibly well.
“Yet what it also left me with was a huge change in the way that I see the world and everything in it.
“Becoming a mother is a life-altering experience anyway,” said Frankie.
“But having your baby prematurely and spending the first moments of discovering motherhood in a hospital environment is truly world-changing.
“It is something that stays with you and it is something that is not supported anywhere near enough.”
The earth-shattering few weeks has turned Frankie’s whole life upside down and inside out.
“I started talking to Georgie, who lives near London, online and we clicked straight away.
“So we got our heads together to set up a new supportive community.
“She’s a graphic designer and offered to draw the pictures.
“We all share information about mental health and common thoughts and feelings that mums who have been in the neonatal unit may undergo,” said Frankie.
“We want to normalise and support those who have been through the neonatal intensive care unit and give people a new voice to speak about their amazing journeys.
“We have now got over 700 people who follow us on Instagram.
“We are building up an extremely active, dynamic community in which we all support each other.
“We’ve even started doing a Podcast and we are talking to mums from all over the UK as well as America.
“It’s vital that we carry on building this and I’ve got to say that for me it’s been a massive positive, a huge plus, and it really has helped me no end since I gave birth last year.”
If you would like to join Frankie’s fast-growing community you can follow her on Instagram at @miraclemoonuk or email her on [email protected]
You can also check out her website at www.miraclemoon.co.uk