15 Perfect Pieces of Advice Parents Have Heard at the Hospital


When you think of what goes on in a hospital, you may imagine gray hallways filled with bleak prognoses, medical jargon and textbook explanations of what’s to come. And while it’s of course true that some of life’s biggest and most devastating challenges take place at hospitals, the people who work in these buildings are often sources of hope, inspiration and anything-but-textbook advice.

The Mighty worked with Boston Children’s Hospital to ask for some of the best advice people have ever received in the hospital. It seems that sometimes, all it takes is the right words to help someone feel at least a little bit better during a difficult time.

This is what they had to say: 

1. “Don’t live life one day at a time. Live it five minutes at a time. A day is harder to get through than five minutes.”
Another cancer mom [told me this] after my son was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. Best advice received to date. — Lisa Giammarco Cleary

bhffd copy
Submitted by Lisa Giammarco Cleary

2. “Don’t look things up on Google.” 

[A doctor said this] after we learned about our son’s diagnosis. — Carly Jackson Smith

2 copy
Submitted by Carly Jackson Smith

3. “Don’t put your child in a bubble. Let them live life.”

From a doctor — Nancy Jane Smith Mumford

4. “Go with your gut, you’re the Mom you know best.”

From one of the nurses when my preemie was born. — Paige Miller

3 copy
Submitted by Paige Miller

5. “Honey, when she starts pulling things off the table and flinging them, you’ll smack her hands, and wonder why you worried so much.”

My daughter was just a baby and everyone was giving me the low end of what she could do. I was feeling very much upset. The lab tech set me down and said this. Caiti is 25 now and can do so much. I remember those words like yesterday. — Susan Harrison Herscher

6. “Some days parenthood is just about surviving. Do what is best and what works for you and your family, who cares what anyone else is doing.”

From a doctor — Diana Godin

4 copy
Submitted by Diana Godin

7. “Take care of yourself too.”

When my daughter went into the NICU I was recovering from a c-section and sleeping on a cot since I refused to leave. I only left the room to pump, eat and bathe. There were times the NICU nurse would tell me to go for a walk or get lunch when I preferred to wait, but I quickly learned that as hard as it was to leave that room it was important to take those small breaks and trust the awesome nurses and doctors there, for the sake of my health and sanity and to be the best mom I could for my baby girl. — Samantha Tremblay

8. “There’s nothing you did to cause this in your child. Always try and keep a sense of humor.” 

[Two doctors who became] my two angels of hope. — Emily Gibbons

5 copy
Submitted by Emily Gibbons

9. “Treat him like you treat your other kids. He’ll do more than you know.”

Our neurology nurse, upon our discharge from the NICU. So far, she’s been right. My little fighter is moving mountains. — Kate Henderson

6 copy
Submitted by Kate Henderson

10. “Don’t think about where the finish line is, see it as a special journey that you will all share.” 

From a doctor. [I] think about that day and her words often. — Lisa Healey

11. “Appreciate every sunrise.”

From a doctor after our son’s bone marrow transplant. Six years later, our son is thriving and I’ve never forgotten those words. — Emily Finch Deyoung

7 copy
Submitted by Emily Finch Deyoung

12. “Don’t ever apologize for being a strong advocate for your daughter. We need you to be.” —

A nurse practitioner told me this after I was worried that my persistence would land me in jail, and that we were wasting people’s time in the ER. — Elissa Levin

13. “There is hope.” 

From a doctor in response to the diagnosis of our son who was only given 3-18 months to live. Kaiden is now 8. — Kerri Munro

8 copy
Submitted by Kerri Munro

14. “She takes her cues from you, Mom.”

A cardiac ICU nurse gave me this advice and it helped me stay positive and calm for my daughter. — Laura Bennett

15. “You are about to embark on the most incredible journey.” 

A doctor said this to us after accepting our prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome. — Melanie Perkins McLaughlin

9 copy
Submitted by Melanie Perkins McLaughlin

*Answers have been edited and shortened. 


Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.


Related to Other

25 Confessions of a Special Needs Mom

I had great plans for being a parent. My children would play board games with me at night, have friends around for tea, talk to me enthusiastically about their school day and always say please and thank you. Then I had children. So there is more technology than board games, no friends around and no [...]

New Line of Plush Toys Features Character With Autism

Florida-based product development company SipNDip has released an original line of plush toys made up of eight characters with back stories designed to teach kids about social acceptance. Each toy has a name and a personal story that represents people from all different walks of life. One of them is named Ryan and has autism. Courtesy [...]

What You Don’t See in This Photo of My Son With Special Needs and Me

This picture was taken the summer of 2014. It’s a silhouette selfie of a mother and her son, standing strong by a railing and relishing their shadows. But there’s a lot more to this photo that you don’t see. The boy in the silhouette is 7 years old and requires support to stand and walk. [...]

What the Adults in My Autistic Child’s Life Don’t Realize About Me

We’re getting over the stigma about my son’s autism. I’m advocating — firmly and loudly — and I’m not afraid to look a little “weird” with him. If we have to bring a cardboard box to the grocery store so he can pretend to be a robot instead of rearranging the canned goods in alphabetical [...]