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15 Perfect Pieces of Advice Parents Have Heard at the Hospital

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Submitted by Melanie Perkins McLaughlin

*Answers have been edited and shortened. 

Originally published: November 9, 2015
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