A Hamline graduate student is doing all the good she can to help mothers during the most difficult time of their lives.
Kristine Putz, a high school teacher pursuing her masters in education at Hamline, published her first book, “Finding Peace in the NICU,” in 2020 – several years after experiencing medical complications of premature childbirth.
In 2017, Putz’s twins were delivered 27 weeks premature. The newborns spent 72 days in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at M Health Fairview Masonic Children's Hospital before arriving home only a couple weeks before their initial due date.
“Having to drive home from the hospital without your kids is probably one of the worst things that I’ve ever experienced,” Putz said.
After a couple years, Putz processed the traumatic experience in a different way by putting her thoughts and feelings into a book that could support and comfort mothers in similar situations.
“I decided to use my skills to help other women, because in these situations there are a lot of resources for the baby, but not so much for the mother,” Putz said. “They’re sort of left behind, so to speak, and there is a huge toll mentally, physically, and emotionally.”
Since publication, Putz’s book has been purchased by multiple medical facilities, including Regions Hospital and M Health Fairview, as a resource for moms with newborns in the NICU.
“It’s been nice to feel like I can have a wider reaching influence on people I can’t necessarily have a conversation with; I can have a conversation with them this way,” Putz said. “It’s written so that it applies to a lot of different moms because there are a lot of different reasons you end up at the NICU.”
Putz’s book draws connections among NICU moms and helps them feel supported with affirmations and inspirations. It also asks meaningful questions that lead moms to reflect on their experience in a healthy way.
“Going through it, I felt like I was very alone, so I wanted to create something where women knew that their feelings are valid and are experienced by most of us who have gone through this,” Putz said. “The affirmations are very important to me too, because it's so much of a mental strain and battle.”
Drawing on her own experience, Putz said one of the best ways to help a parent in a similar situation is to simply be there for them.
“When people see someone going through something traumatic on the outside, they want to either fix it or make you feel better. There are just some times where it’s better to listen and not react,” Putz said. “I had friends come and just have coffee with me (at the hospital) and that’s all I needed, was for someone to be there.”
“Finding Peace in the NICU” can be purchased on Amazon, Etsy and www.peaceinthenicu.com.