Dear NICU Mom... | The Speckled Goat: Dear NICU Mom...


Dear NICU Mom...

nicu encouragement preemie medically fragile baby premature

I'm walking down the hall toward the elevators and the cafeteria when I see you.

You're wearing cheery pajama pants and an oversized sweatshirt that doesn't match, inching your way down the hall in your slippers, a shell-shocked expression on your face.

You see me coming and step to the side to let me by, and I see you glace at my name tag and notice the word "parent," -- that one word that identifies me as the mama of a precious tiny one here in the hospital-- and your expression changes a little- a mix of camaraderie, disbelief, sadness, and hope.

I know exactly how you're feeling.

Just weeks ago, I was you.

I know that you're completely overwhelmed by this big place with its steady stream of people- social workers, case managers, speech therapists, physical therapists, nurses, nurse practitioners, doctors...  and you've given up on keeping them all straight or knowing anyone's name, ever.

I, too, have felt like all the other moms look way more put together than I do- how are they all walking so fast, and wearing real clothes?

I know your head is spinning from all the information and all the decisions you suddenly have to make. You knew that being a parent would involve tough choices and hard things... but you didn't expect this.

I know how much you hate that your baby is going through all this- and that you're still too shocked to process your grief.

I know that you feel like no one else can really understand how you're feeling- this is such a specific experience. Even between NICU parents, every situation is so different that it can be hard to relate, hard to feel heard.... but your experience is going to be completely different than your friends', your sister's... and it makes you feel left out somehow.

I know.

And I also know that somehow, you'll quickly become comfortable here. I know you'll find nurses you just love- and they'll make the bad days more bearable, make the joys that much sweeter, and they'll become dear friends.

I know that your body will heal- faster than you'd expect- and you'll soon be showering on your own and walking at a normal pace again.

You'll be incredibly amazed at how well your child copes with all the unthinkably difficult things he or she is going through, and although you'll always hate that things started out like this, you will know in your heart that your baby is the toughest person you've ever met.

These impossibly long days will pass so quickly that you'll wonder where the weeks have gone.

I know that you'll find people who understand at least a little bit, and that you'll cling to them on the rough days and celebrate with them on the good days.

I know you'll make hard decisions, and then you'll second guess your choices... but that's just part of parenthood, isn't it?

With the grace of God and the love of so many people, you can do this. Lean into it. Fight to find the blessings. Choose trust when it feels impossible. You're tougher than you think you are, and you can do this.

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