Hand to Hold's Official Blog: Written by Parents for Parents
Kaleena Berryman

About Kaleena Berryman

Kaleena Berryman (NJ) is mom to Jharid, born at 24 weeks, in April 2012. After five months in the NICU battling complications such as ROP, BPD, Grade 3 brain bleeds and NEC, Jharid came home to his mom and dad a healthy, happy, thriving boy. Even though “Mom” is her most treasured title, Kaleena is also a writer, poet, mentor, and Program Coordinator for the Abbott Leadership Institute at Rutgers Newark. She wants to help other preemie parents develop their advocacy voice. Kaleena has a B.S. in Communication from William Paterson University and a M.S. in Public Administration from Rutgers University. She is the founder of a preemie parent support blog. Connect with her on Facebook.

I Did Everything Right

Fact: You can do everything right during your pregnancy and still have a preemie. I have never smoked a cigarette a day in my life. I have never used drugs of any kind. My life was not filled with stress. I eat a balanced diet, and I am a fairly active person. During my pregnancy, […]

Dear Preemie (On the Day You Are Born)

Well, my dear, here you are. I don’t know why fate brought us together so soon, for neither of us are finished growing. You are still so small and fragile; I am still preparing myself to be your mom. I planned to read a few more books and learn how to crochet before you were […]

5 Ways to Tap the Power of Your Preemie Parent Voice

I bet you can remember the moment you found it. Possibly, it was the moment you realized you would soon become the parent of a preemie child, the moment your pregnancy came to an end, and even though your heart was broken, you decided to believe. Maybe it was within the first few days of […]

Other Mothers (Dedicated to the NICU Nurses Who Helped Save Our Children’s Lives)

On the day my child was born too little, too soon I was not the only mother present in the room Somewhere in the background, I did not realize There stood a group of women, assigned to both our lives They took my baby swiftly, helped add his Apgar score Made sure I got to […]

The Color of Prematurity Awareness

My name is Kaleena Berryman, I am an African American woman, and three years ago I gave birth to my son prematurely. If you were to judge the face of prematurity by the color of preemie awareness, you would think it was a “white woman’s issue.” You would assume that there are very few women […]