Anyone who has been through the NICU experience knows that it is one wild ride! A definite emotional roller coaster of sorts. It’s such a very delicate time. Oftentimes family and friends don’t know what to do or say which can make an already difficult situation seem unbearable. Keep reading to find out 4 things NICU parents wish you knew.
We’re not as strong as you think we are
The saying goes “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice”. That’s just it. Sometimes we smile to suppress the tears. Many times I was asked how I kept pushing. How I kept working full time while my son was in the NICU and my answer was always the same “I just do it”
There are so many alarms and monitors, wires and restrictions … we’re being inundated with lab results and updates, statistics and research studies. Your child’s health is literally minute to minute and at the blink of an eye everything can change. You witness loss all around you…The fear is almost paralyzing.
We’re not trying to be rude
NICU births are unlike term births in many ways. There are so many more layers, so many complex situations occurring at the same time so responses to phone calls, texts, etc. may be limited. It’s all very overwhelming. The exhaustion, stress, and anxiety as well other emotions that may not be easy to understand are at an all-time high. Some new moms struggle with depression and guilt, not to mention the stress of childbirth itself. This is not the time to bombard parents for pictures or recurrent requests to visit the hospital. It’s a very delicate time for both the parents and their new bundle of joy.
We don’t know…
That applies to SO much when you have a child in the NICU. We don’t know why things happen or how oftentimes. We don’t know what happens next. We can only live minute by minute or risk losing what bit of sanity we have left. We don’t know when we’ll get to go home either as things change so ridiculously quick in the NICU world. So when you hear “I don’t know” it’s not a snub or an effort to blow you off, we’re just trying to survive.