Making of a NICU mom
There are many different paths to motherhood and many different journeys we take in our lives as mothers. In my job as a NICU nurse, I see it all.
I see teenage moms, terrified of being able to provide for their baby’s needs.
I see 40-something moms, who are finally getting to meet the baby they’ve been wanting for so long.
I see babies born from surprise pregnancies, and I see babies born after decades of trying, thousands of dollars of fertility treatments, and many losses.
I see single moms. I see babies born to 2 moms or 2 dads. I see grandmothers, who often are the ones who “step up to the plate” when one or both parents cannot adequately provide care to a baby.
I see foster moms. Moms who will provide all the love and care for a baby, for an amount of time that is yet to be determined.
I see adoptive moms. Moms who did not physically give birth to a baby, yet, from the very beginning, innately love and care for a child in a way that only a mother can.
I see surrogate moms. Moms who allow someone else’s baby to grow and develop inside their body, providing for all of the baby’s needs until it is born. I have even seen surrogate mothers provide breast milk for a baby, for many months after birth.
Your role as a mother
No matter your unique path to motherhood, I see you all developing into your new role.
I see you changing your first diaper, carefully trying to move the wires and tubes out of the way. I see you trying to wipe your baby’s bottom, with enough force to clean the meconium off their skin, but gentle too. I see you trying to figure out just the right amount of Desitin to put on your baby’s bottom.
I see you trying to figure out the best way hold your new baby. I see you trying to figure out how to support the baby’s head, while getting them to open their mouth to suck on your breast or a bottle. I see you always making sure your baby is comfortable and content.
I see you trying to figure out snaps on those footsie pajamas or how to adjust the straps on the car seat.
But somehow you manage to figure all of these things out. Like a mother.
Strength of a NICU mom- somehow you do it
Yet, NICU moms, you have so much incredible strength. I don’t know how you do it all. You are thrown into a world, that you often could not have foreseen, and somehow you survive. You adapt. You thrive.
I see you visiting your baby for the first time, trying to take it all in. I see you trying to learn about the monitors, the rules, the environment. I see you trying to make sense of the medical jargon and understand exactly what is going on with your baby. I see you trying to adjust to circumstances which are different from what you had planned. All while battling hormonal fluctuations of a postpartum mom. And somehow, you do it.
You bring me bottles of breast milk that you pumped at 2, 3, or 4 o’clock in the morning. I don’t know how you have the strength or the energy to wake up and pump milk for a baby that isn’t right next you you. But, somehow, you do it.
I see you making tough decisions about work and home life. Trying to figure out if you should take your maternity leave now or save it for when your baby comes home. I see you trying to figure out how to make it to the hospital in time for rounds, while being home to put your other kids on the bus. I see you trying to figure out how to give your baby the love and attention he/she needs and give your other kids attention and love too. Somehow, you do it.
I see you struggling to leave the hospital at the end of the day. The separation must be so difficult. Somehow, you do it.
I don’t know how you manage to do it all. How you manage to be the mothers that you are. How you overcome so many obstacles, both on your journey to motherhood and in your unexpected role as a NICU mom. Your strength is such an inspiration to everyone. I don’t know how, but somehow you do it. Thank you for being a role-model to all moms.