While in the NICU I had some awkward conversations. I had to entertain a lot of people telling me how they felt & what they would’ve done & that they “could never imagine”. Through those times I learned about what NOT to say to a NICU mama. Here’s the Top 5.
(I beg you to never say these things).
I don’t know how you do it. Neither do I, darling. But it’s fueled by adrenaline. And because- and here’s the most important part- we have no choice. That’s our child & we somehow find the strength to just kick the world to the side until our child is through this ordeal.
I can’t wait to get this kid out of me. Dear full-term pregnant friends: Stop. Just stop. Don’t say this. Because when you do there’s a small part inside a NICU mama that wants to hit you. Sorry (but not sorry).
I’m sure you’re uncomfortable in those final weeks. You probably can’t sleep. And have to pee (a lot). We wouldn’t know though – because we never got to experience that. Some of us, me included, have husbands who never got to feel our baby kick inside our belly because they came so soon. We missed out on that. So it’s okay to be ready to have that baby but please for our hearts’ sake, cherish the uncomfortable. It’s a beautiful blessing that many of us won’t get to experience.
Your kid is so small. Good eyes, friend. Yep, the baby is small. He is a preemie. They tend to come early & didn’t have enough time to cook in our oven. We know our kid is small. Thank you for pointing out the obvious. A better option might be to say something like “that is one beautiful baby.” We often need others to help us find & recognize the beauty in the mess.
You should be breastfeeding. Question- did you lactate at 28 weeks? 30 weeks? No? Well, neither did we – easily. It’s hard to breastfeed let alone when you have a preemie and you cannot hold your baby (because we all know bonding helps lactation, right?).
Believe me many of us try. My husband watched at 1st in horror (& then he got as comfy with it as I was) as I pumped under a nursing cover in the open lobby of the hospital as people walked by & in the front seat of the car as we drove back and forth to the NICU. I did what I had to.
But at the end of the day what’s most important is making sure our kiddo is fed. So while we work on pumping & find our own breast-milk way in this world, we might have to supplement our baby’s nutrition with formula. Let us live. My kiddo was fed through feedings tube for the 1st 3 months of his life. Most of it was breast milk – but due to some health complications and his tiny size it was recommended we supplement feedings. I’m not going to argue with world-renowned doctors so you shouldn’t argue with me.
I’m praying for you. Thank you. We need this. As a mama who believes in Jesus & at many points during our NICU stay had many conversations with Him (some weren’t so nice- I screamed some & I begged a lot). I am humbled by the power of prayer. So please pray. But don’t say this & then dust your hands off and leave us sitting in the NICU.
We are still adults who would like some distractions. Otherwise we live & breathe oxygen saturation statistics & OT appointments.
I was blessed to have some dear dear friends who would call or email just to talk. One would send me emails about how crazy her world was then. I needed that. I needed the distraction. I needed the humor.
Come visit us at the hospital. Have lunch with us (yes, even if it means eating hospital food). Help us find normalcy in the chaos. We won’t forget you for it.