For Preemie Parents
Dearest Preemie Parents,
There is nothing I can say that would do justice to what you’ve been through and how strong you are.
I see in you such resilience – and also a million other things: anger, joy, frustration, wonder, fear, resolve.
In and out of the NICU, unprepared and shell shocked, on a first name basis with doctors and specialists. It’s too much and too soon and too real.
I see you when you come home – leaving the protective bubble of the hospital and the expertise of nurses who have cared for both you and your baby.
I see you go from wide-eyed and raw and exhausted to confident and grateful. Preemie Parent, you are so grateful. Though you would give anything for a few more days in utero, give anything to have had a so-called “normal” homecoming, a baby shower, typical and comparatively benign parental worry…you are grateful.
And I want, more than anything, for you to take care of yourself as well as that precious baby you protect with absolute tunnel vision. I want you to eat your veggies, give each other back rubs, take a bath…take just one deep breath.
I have heard you say, “I am afraid to hold him.”
I have heard you say, “Nobody understands this.”
I have heard you ask, “What did I do wrong?”
I want you to be OK.
You will be OK.
Eat your veggies, do back rubs, wear your favorite color, buy the teddy bears, enjoy your baby.
With love and complete awe,