To the NICU mama

 To the NICU mama... You are not alone.

You are not alone in your fears when the unknown makes you riddled with worry, and the known makes you physically ill. You are not alone when the fears take hold and you feel stunned and numb. When the fear makes you want to run, you are not alone.

You are not alone when anxiety grips you so tight you can’t breathe. When the world around you fades away, and the ringing in your ears becomes louder. When all you can hear is the beating of your heart. Thump. Thump. Thump. You are not alone.

You are not alone when you look in the mirror and don’t recognize the woman you see. The bags, the exhaustion, the blood shot eyes. The unbrushed hair and unwashed face, you are not alone – and by the way you are beautiful. You are the strongest mama there is, that is who is staring back at you in that mirror. When all you want is to feel like you, you are not alone.

You are not alone in the countless hours you’ve spent at your baby’s bedside, through the boring take out meals, the endless cups of coffee, the painful hours spent pumping... you are not alone. When your world seems to have stopped and all you know is the NICU, you are not alone. When you can’t remember your life before the hospital, you are not alone.

and...

When it all becomes too much, when you don’t know how you could possibly continue on another day, you are not alone. You will go to bed that night, more exhausted than the night before. You will hear the bells and alarms of the NICU, sounds that will haunt you. But, you WILL go to bed, and you WILL wake up the next morning, get out of bed, and you will walk into that NICU and see your baby and do it all over again. You just do. And in that, you are not alone.

But then...

When the dark moments turn light, and they will... you still, are not alone.

When your baby gains weight in grams so small no one else understands why you’re celebrating, you are not alone.

When your baby opens their eyes for the first time, or you hear their voice for the first time after being intubated... you are not alone.

When bloodwork comes back and gives you reason to celebrate, when you wean down oxygen, when you hit any milestone –big or small, that puts you one step closer to your ticket out of there... you are not alone. I am there, and I am celebrating with you.

Because, you mama... you are amazing. You are a warrior. You are so beautifully, wonderfully made to be your baby’s mama, and you are never alone.