Dear Mom with a baby (or babies) in the NICU,
Today is the day in which mothers are doted on by their families. Mom are thanked and loved the way they probably should be everyday. The day is filled with hugs and kisses, cuddles and laughs, hand-made cards and jewelry, flowers and meals cooked by someone else. This is the day moms finally get to relax and enjoy watching their kids be kids, knowing that Dad is on clean up duty. At least that is how today should go, but for you, that is not the case.
Your day probably looked more like this. You sat in a quiet, sterol room listening to the beeps, buzzs, and whoshes of machines. If you are lucky and your baby is doing well, you got to change a tiny diaper, take baby’s temperature, and enjoy some kangaroo-care with your little one. Maybe today you only got to place a gentle hand through a portal in the isolet for a small amount of time to touch your precious baby and let them know you are there. Maybe today wasn’t even that good of a day and you simply had to watch from outside of the isolet as your tiny little one, attached to a million wires, lay under the blue bili light. Or maybe your day wasn’t like that at all because, though this might be your first Mother’s Day with your NICU baby, it is not your first Mother’s Day, so you made the painful choice to say home from the hospital today in an attempt to get some much needed rest and spend some time with your other kids. Despite your best intentions, you spent most of the distracted by your guilt over missing a day at the hospital. That choice may have been a hard one, but it was not a selfish one, I know, I made that tough choice last year and spent the whole feeling bad about it, but I’m glad I did.
However you spent this Mother’s Day and whatever mixed emotions you are feeling about this day, just know that you are not alone. Unfortunately, there are many Mamas in the NICU Moms club, the club that no one asks to be in. No two situations are completely the same, but a lot of the experiences and feelings are shared with other members in this club. I was a member last year and it was pure agony, but I wouldn’t change it because it made me stronger and more appreciative. I made it through and so did my little boy. You will also make it through and I pray that your little one(s) will too. Whatever your outcome, on the other side of it, you will find some sense of meaning and peace, though it may take a while.
Today I spent my first Mother’s Day with my littlest guy, after choosing not to spend my Mother’s Day with him last year. The fact that this was my first Mother’s Day with him was not lost on me. I reflexed back on where we were a year ago and what we went through to get to today. Our story last year made our time together today that much sweeter. Sure I was adorned by some of the finest pins and jewelry preschoolers can make, a spectacular breakfast, and I card that I know was a labor of love for my seven year old to write, and I loved it all, but the best present I received today was just the fact that my baby was here with me and I was able to bask in his beautiful smile all day long.
So to you mom’s with little ones in the NICU right now, my message to you this Mother’s Day is this: you aren’t alone no matter how lonely you feel right now. Things are hard, but they will eventually get easier. Take a little time for yourself every once in a while so you are fresh and present for your baby. And enjoy any little moments you can get with your precious one. My Mother’s Day wish for you today is, that next year your Mother’s Day will be as wonderful and filled with joy as mine was today.