Every month on the blog we’ll be featuring parents that inspire us; and this week is an extra special feature in honor of September being neonatal intensive care awareness month. We’re excited to have lifestyle blogger, nonprofit founder and millennial mom of two, Bianca Dottin in the spotlight today!
In early 2017, Bianca founded Mamas of The NICU in honor of her son, Tristan, a late term preemie who passed away at just 6 months old. Mamas of the NICU is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and online community where all NICU moms can come for a place to seek comfort, knowledge, and understanding from graduate and fellow NICU moms. We talked about how she started her journey, and how she coped with the obstacles along the way.
What inspired you to found your nonprofit organization and online community, Mamas of the NICU?
I came up with the idea for Mamas of The NICU shortly after Tristan was born. In all honesty, the idea of becoming a non-profit never crossed my mind until months later. Originally, I only wanted to create the NICU journal to help get moms through their journey. Mamas of The NICU was never intended to be a non-profit but once Tristan passed away, my husband and I knew that’s what needed to happen in order to fulfill our vision and keep Tristan’s legacy alive.
The online community was a way to connect current and past NICU moms so that we could come together in a safe space to share, ask questions, and just be there for each other. There’s nothing more comforting that having a connection with someone who has been in your shoes and that’s exactly what we wanted to provide for the moms.
We became a non-profit organization in November 2017 and from there we began planning our very first NICU Mom Brunch for Mother’s Day.
Were there any notable obstacles you faced in your journey to create Mamas of the NICU and how did you conquer them?
We did have a few obstacles early on in our journey. For our very first NICU Mom Brunch we had a major sponsor drop out after committing to support our event. Our team was left to scramble and find replacement sponsors in less than 2 months. Luckily, with the help of generous brands like WubbaNub and others we were able to host more than a dozen NICU moms in the Orlando area for our first ever brunch.
One of the keepsakes you offer is a NICU Journal for parents to capture each and every precious moment. Can you tell us a little bit more about how journaling was helpful to you during Tristan’s NICU stay?
Journaling for me was a major help during our stay. It helped me to stay in touch with how I was feeling and what I was experiencing. My emotions were at an all-time high after giving birth to Tristan. I could express my feelings and emotions in my journal without suppressing them.
It was important to me to be able to one day look back at our time in the NICU and my ultimate reason for journaling was to one day be able to share the journal with Tristan. I didn’t know how long we would be in the NICU or what the next day would bring but I knew that those memories would one day be priceless.
The journal was a way that I felt I could help moms through their stay. There is so much that goes on daily during your time in the NICU that it’s really hard to remember and comprehend everything. I noticed when we were first admitted that other moms were jotting down notes in composition notebooks.
What other ways can we become involved and support your mission?
We are still currently a small organization. Our goal to help NICU moms through support, journals and our annual brunch. We are currently in the process of securing sponsors for our organization, survival kits and annual events like our NICU Mom Brunch. We are accepting product donations (a list can be found here) as well as monetary donations that will fund the survival kits and journals donated to NICU moms on a monthly basis. We would love to secure a few long-term sponsors!