What I Want You to Know is a series of reader submissions. It is an attempt to allow people to tell their personal stories, in the hopes of bringing greater compassion to the unique issues each of us face. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s guest post is by Organized Mama.
You don’t know sadness to the depth of your soul until you are sitting in your house and your newborn baby is fifty miles away in a NICU. This was the hardest thing I have ever been through. I thought the nights I spent on the maternity ward hearing babies cry and seeing people passing by with their babies was hard, or not being able to see my baby for three days after she was born, or not holding her until she was a week old. But nothing prepared me for the first day when I was sitting at home on one sofa staring at my husband on the other without our baby. The baby stuff is all over the house, we have our hospital ID bands still on and I’m sitting there realizing I should still be pregnant and that I am fighting every urge and instinct in my body to be with my new baby. All I could do was cry- cry for my early delivery, cry because my baby was struggling, cry because I could not just go see her whenever, I was crying for all my friends with healthy full term deliveries, crying for the unknown of what was to come and how she would be. I was mad- mad at my body for causing the early delivery, mad at my husband because I figured there was no way he felt this pain (I later learned that when I was in the hospital and so was our baby, he went to our friends house and just cried because he felt helpless), mad because I could not understand why my prayers were not being answered. There is not a booklet they give you that says so you delivered early and your child is in the NICU this is how it will be, it’s all uncertain territory. My friends were great because they tried to help, but I was not ready. I was sad and angry at the world, but they were there for my husband and my older child. The best thing you can do for someone when their child is in the NICU is be available when they are ready for a friend.
Finally several years later, I was able to talk honestly about my feelings and jealousy and anger because they had healthy children and they understood. I also think any mom with a NICU baby should look for a support group online or therapy. It is an unnatural situation and one of the most difficult things you will ever go through as a parent.