The neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is an important and special place. It’s where babies who are born too early or too sick get the care they need. While no one wants their baby to end up in the NICU, it happens more often than you think. As someone who was forced to spend time there twice, and only been brought one baby home, I can tell you the NICU cultivates a slew of emotions. There are just so many things moms feel when leaving their baby in the NICU.
Most people expect to spend all the time they possibly can with their babies after giving birth. They want to hold them, feed them, kiss him, smell them, bond with them, stare at them, and inspect every single part of their tiny little bodies. No one wants to have to look at their child through a plastic container. No one wants to be told their baby is too unstable to be held. No one wants to leave the hospital empty handed after 40 (more or less) weeks of pregnancy and an untold number of grueling hours in labor and delivery. No one wants to experience the insurmountable pain of looking at your baby in the eyes while they’re intubated.
Still, as a parent, you manage. Remarkably, almost unbelievably, you absolutely manage, because that is what your baby needs you to do. Moms are incredibly resilient people, and if you’re wondering just how resilient, well, here's what those badass moms feel when their babies are in the NICU: