I want to start this post by saying that this can be a sensitive subject for many MoMs, and that’s precisely why I am going to speak my truth about it. This subject is close to my heart because I am a NICU mom, and I see so many NICU moms going through unnecessary suffering while their babies are being cared for in the NICU. So hear me out and then be intentional with your NICU story and what you want to continue telling yourself about your experience, or what you will choose to say to yourself if a NICU stay is in your future. I’ll let you know how to do this at the end of this post, so keep reading.
The way that you think of your NICU stay is how you are going to feel about NICU. This is NOT me saying that you just have to think positively about your kiddos being in the NICU, not at all. But I will caution you to be very intentional because many moms paint a horrible scene when it comes to their NICU stay.
For instance, I have been told by a mom that the NICU is like being in a war zone, not knowing who is going to make it out. Can you see how thinking of the NICU as a war zone adds an extra level of tragedy to the situation? The woman that told me that the NICU was a war zone had 7-year-old twins. For seven years, she’s been carrying around this painful story about the first weeks of her children’s lives. Here’s an alternative way of thinking about the NICU. “My boys need extra support from the NICU so that they can live, it’s not what I was hoping for, but this is what their life needs right now.”
Some moms have described their NICU time as being robbed of the bonding experience that they desired to have because now they can’t even hold their babies after giving birth because he/she is in a box, (how they describe the incubator). Acknowledging that you are sad that the situation didn’t go as you hoped is a good thing, this is what I call clean pain. But describing it as being robbed adds a layer of pain to an already challenging situation. Here’s a different way that you can think about it if you want, “I’m disappointed that I didn’t get to snuggle my babies the way that I had envisioned, but they are in the best place for them to survive so that I can snuggle them for years to come.”
If you are pregnant with multiples, there is a possibility of having to spend some time in the NICU, so here are some questions that I want you to answer to give yourself the power to create your NICU experience.
What do I want to remember about the NICU 5 years from now?
What emotions do I want to experience while my babies are in the NICU?
What are some simple ways to take care of my mental, emotional, and physical needs?
No two MoMs NICU experience will be the same (you can read part of mine here), but I hear MoMs talk about the NICU like their experience was just happening to them. That is one way to do it and or you can be intentional and look back at this time; however, feels good and true to you. When your kiddos are 3, 7, 12 years old, you’ll be grateful for the time you took to be intentional about the first weeks of their lives.