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If raising a child takes a village, parents can use all the help they can get when navigating a difficult medical journey. But between medical teams, family, friends, and all the different groups of people that come together in order to provide the care needed, a lot of informational gaps can get left behind.

From splitting time between the hospital and your family at home to preparing for discharge and transitioning home with (potentially new) medical equipment, it is quite easy to feel overwhelmed as a caregiver.

That’s why Child Life Specialists like Caitlin McNamara dedicate their career to helping families bridge those gaps: they walk along with them on the journey and assist whenever possible by providing guidance and advice that could otherwise be hard for caregivers to find.

And while we firmly believe that every hospital should have Child Life Specialists available, it’s unfortunately not the case yet. This is why Caitlin and her team created Child Core: an online coaching program dedicated to becoming an integral part of families’ support systems.

Today, Caitlin shares with us incredible advice on creating plans for difficult moments or transitions in your journey, finding your community, and understanding the uniqueness of each journey.

In the “Resources” section below, you’ll also be able to find Child Core’s free resources. These were designed to offload some pressure off of caregivers by providing guidance on using medical equipment, providing checklists to take to appointments, and much more.

Key Takeaways with Caitlin McNamara

  • The benefits of adding a Child Life Specialist to your support team.
  • Navigating a difficult medical journey with your child as a caregiver.
  • The impact of the journey on caregivers, siblings, and the child.
  • Advice on creating your “village” or community, and how to ask for help.
  • Preparing for the complexities of a transition home (discharge).
  • Free resources that can help parents who are feeling overwhelmed.
  • Remembering that what worked for others may not work for you.
  • How needs may change with time, and how to process these changes.
  • Finding a balance between caring for your child, your family, and yourself.

Caitlin McNamara Tweetables

  • “It takes a village, let us be part of yours.” – Caitlin McNamara
  • “Everyone has a unique story and journey, and no size fits all. Because every path is different, there’s no book you can read or video you can watch that prepares you. Child Life has evolved to meet those unique needs.” – Caitlin McNamara
  • “Give yourself the grace to learn how to navigate with your family and your child the transition out of the hospital.” – Caitlin McNamara
  • “Think about yourself and remember this is your journey. What worked for somebody might not work or feel comfortable for you. And that’s okay.” – Caitlin McNamara


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