The idea of facing the NICU as a new mom is terrifying and might put you on an emotional rollercoaster. Nobody dreams of starting their child’s life out in the intensive care unit. But in reality, it happens to a LOT of people. And regardless of what the cause for the stay is, it’s never easy on parents. Here are some nuggets of wisdom of how you can keep yourself calm, cool, and collected throughout the stay.
The experience of NICU as a new mom
When your baby is in the NICU, fear is your ever-present friend. Each time you walk through those doors, you fear something might have gone wrong in the brief time you weren’t’ there. The best way to deal with this is to give yourself over to the experience of NICU as a new mom.
There’s no denying it: leaving your kid in the NICU ward is the hardest thing new parents have to do. They are forced to leave the hospital with an empty car seat, which can tear a person apart in the worst of ways. But when you consider the amazing staff at your baby’s side, it leaves you feeling somewhat more comfortable with the idea.
The best pieces of advice for parents in the NICU
It’s super important to take care of yourself when facing the NICU as a new mom. You need to make time to shower, to eat, and most importantly, to sleep. Your child is in intensive care and in the most capable hands the medical profession has.
Also, just put your phone away. Don’t Google everything. Trust the neonatologist. They work with sick babies every day. Your hour-long Google search is no match for medical schools and countless years of experience.
It’s okay to not be okay at first
More often than not, the NICU tears new parents to shreds. You will face setbacks, and each one will make your heart break even more than it did the previous time. And you might feel like crumbling under the pressure of it all. But the secret to gaining strength through the experience is to take things one moment at a time. Allow yourself the time you need to grieve for what you thought life would look like for you and your child. And then, pull yourself together, turn to your support network, and start building your strength, your baby needs you now more than he ever will.
Although you don’t see it now, there are beautiful lessons to be learnt here. The level of heartbreak and world-falling-apart feelings you experience will teach you to love deeper, empathise more deeply and have a stronger urge to help others in need.