There is nothing more lonely than being a mom of a baby in the NICU.
You can’t take your mind off of your child for one second worrying about how they are doing, wondering if and how they will make it through this, waiting for something else to go wrong. Even if you tried for one second to think of something else that thought process will end up with your child. You are more isolated than you have ever been in your life. There will be outpouring of love from so many people but most of them can’t come and actually see you, mostly because you cannot risk your child being exposed to anyone from outside the NICU because every person that comes in risks the chance they could be carrying something that your baby’s fragile little body cannot handle. You have never been more exhausted physically, mentally and emotionally. You have all but forgotten what it means to take care of yourself. What is makeup again? Your wardrobe consists of sweatpants and baggy shirts because it just doesn’t matter anymore and lets not even begin to think about your hospital diet… Your conversations with your spouse, family, and new friends (the NICU staff) are all consuming about your child because what else can you possibly talk about while in there? Your entire life has been abducted by this tiny human and it’s surroundings. Meanwhile every moment you try and think of the future you wonder how your baby will be affected by all of this. Will he or she need support? Will their cognitive, physical, internal development be impacted? What milestones will I be missing with my baby here in the NICU that, if he/she would have been on time, I could have been enjoying at home with them? How many holidays will I have to spend here and miss the family pictures and memories we could be having together?
And then Mothers day approaches. Mother’s Day may be one of the hardest days you will experience in the NICU. You are so happy to be the mom of your little fighter but you are harder on yourself than you have ever been. Have I been doing enough? fighting enough? Will I be the mom my baby needs with his/her extra needs for the future? How can I possibly be a good mother to all of my children with my NICU baby taking up so much of me now? Did I do something to make my baby’s outcome worse? Of course as you are aware by now the NICU is a place of so many questions and not enough answers… You dream of a Mothers Day of waking up to breakfast in bed with your baby by your side but you wake up and immediately get ready to head to the hospital instead. You want to hold your baby extra tight today and make them know you will do your best no matter what. You give your other kids and extra hug and kiss to hopefully reinforce they will not be forgotten and you love them just as much. Meanwhile you are on the verge of crying most of the day trying to soak in every little special moment and muster up that smile for everyone else around you. It will not be that perfect Mother’s day. For the first time moms it will not curse all mothers days for you in the future.
So what will it be? It will be for the most part like every other day you experience in the NICU accompanied with some extra treats and attention but it will be your day and you need to remember that. It will be a day to hold your miracle for an extra hour. It will be a day for you to not feel guilty about giving yourself time away to maybe get your nails done or get a massage. It will be a day to celebrate the little victories your child has made because of you. It will be a day to reminisce on the growth your baby has made in the time since he/she has been born. It will be a day to recognize in yourself the strength you have had that has carried you this far after being hit with the hardest life experience a mother can have. It will be a day to wake up, look in the mirror, tell yourself “I Did This, I have pulled this family through this tragic event so far and I will pull us all the way to NICU graduation”. It will be a day to remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel and regardless of what that ending may look like I will do everything to make sure we come out stronger on the other end and ready to face whatever life throws at me and my baby. This is your day. Say it again to yourself … This is My day. So make it that way. It won’t be perfect. It won’t be the day you dreamed of but that dream can adapt to your surroundings and you can mold it into the day you dreamed of with your family by your side and your baby being cared for by the amazing NICU staff. Your baby has made it this far and that alone is the best Mother’s Day gift you could possibly ask for.
– NICU Mom’s, you are incredibly strong, you are resilient and most of all you are doing an incredible job. Happy Mother’s Day from #TEAMBECKHAM
Beckham Max Sheiman was born 1-19-2016 at 24 weeks gestation weighing 1lb 8oz. After 185 days in the NICU with countless medical procedures and issues he came home. The below family picture was my first Mother’s day with him and spent in the NICU. It was a beautiful day with my husband and daughter who did everything to keep my spirits up, spoil me, and remind me that I was doing a great job. It wasn’t the day I thought it would be, but now looking back, it was the perfect day it was supposed to be and I will cherish that forever.