Today, I’m participating in Nick Wilford’s OvercomingAdversity Blogfest. This is in honor of his stepson who has cerebral palsy.
As some of you know, my eldest son was born thirteen weeks premature. For ten weeks, he lived in the NICU. And for ten exhausting hours a day, I lived there, too. We’re all familiar with the roller-coaster ride called querying. Compared to the highs and lows, fears and hopes that you deal with every day when you baby is extremely sick, querying feels like walking down a road with no dips and bumps. Crying over a rejection is nothing like crying because one of your NICU mommy friends has just watched her baby die. It nothing like crying when a pregnant mother (who was supposed to be a friend) goes on and on about how her baby is kicking, five minutes after she saw you baby on a ventilator and fighting for his life, and then berates you when you ask her nicely to keep her excitement to herself. And it’s nothing like the crying you do because you’re positive it’s your fault your baby is premature.
But with the darkness comes the light. One thing NICU mothers and writers share in common is their need to develop friendships with individuals who know about the day-to-day struggles we deal with. We support each other and give each other hope. We find ways to make the day brighter. One day, two of my NICU friends and I wrote a list to help give other NICU moms and families a reason to smile, even for just a moment. (The actual list is a lot longer that this)
You Know You’ve Been An NICU Mom Too Long When . . .
Your breasts takes on the shape of the plastic breast pump shields.
You are mistaken for a nurse and can actually help.
The residents come to you for answers.
You’re no longer modest in front of other Moms' husbands.
You don’t hesitate to leave a dirty diaper for a nurse you don’t like. (Yep, we all did this one. To the same nurse.)
Do you have friends who help you through the ups and downs of your life, and especially though the ups and downs of being a writer? What kinds of things do you do to keep your spirits up?