To the NICU mom—I see you. From the mom of a 33-weeker and a 25-weeker.
Whether your baby was in the NICU for a few hours, a few days, or a few months—I see you.
When your heart breaks every time you have to leave your baby behind in the NICU to tend to other responsibilities—I see you.
When your baby is still in the NICU and your maternity leave is ending—I see you.
When you feel overwhelming guilt not being able to make it to see your baby every day, or for any extended amount of time—I see you.
When you have to call in to check on your baby more often than you even get to visit—I see you.
When you become a NICU mom during a pandemic and there are far more restrictions on your right to be with your baby than under “normal” NICU circumstances—I see you.
When you hear phrases like “incompetent cervix” or “failure to progress” and it makes you feel like an incompetent failure—I see you.
When someone tells you “at least it was only a little while!” entirely dismissing how that so-called “little while” felt like a traumatic eternity—I see you.
When someone makes a comment about how “the third trimester really sucks anyway!” and you wish you had the words to adequately describe just how badly you wish you’d had that sucky third trimester—I see you.
When you watch other babies come and go, while your baby is still in that little box, with no end in sight—I see you.
When this is not the first baby you’ve had in the NICU—I see you.
When you hear the beeps, dings, and incessant alarms even in your sleep—I see you.
When you see another mom doing skin-to-skin with her NICU baby and you wonder when you’ll even get to lightly touch yours—I see you.
When your eyes feel like fire as you struggle to get up to pump every night again, and again, and again—I see you.
When you stress over the little bottles with your liquid gold, wondering if you’ll be able to keep up with your baby’s growing needs for milk—I see you.
When you pump, and pump, and pump, and pump, and you feel defeated when you’re told that your baby still needs more—I see you.
When you end up with extra milk from all the pumping and are able to give to help tiny babies just like your own—I see you.
When you feel conflicted in the sheer joy of bringing one twin home with the anguish of leaving the other behind a while longer—I see you.
When homecoming day finally arrives and the excitement turns into panic because you—not the nurses and doctors— are now the one caring for your baby 24/7 – I see you.
When your baby is one that never leaves the NICU, and you are left with empty arms and a shattered soul—I see you.