Having a high-risk pregnancy or a baby in the NICU is a marathon.
Caring for a preemie after discharge can be one too!
And if you experience both, it's just one marathon after the other.
There is no sprinting. There is no quick fix.
There's no way to get to the other side any faster than you are already going. And that reality can be almost unbearable, even on your best days. When you're fighting to bring your baby home, each new day comes with the cumulative stress of all the days, weeks and months you've already been through. (Tweet that!) You aren't being negative for not jumping as high or cheering as loud as your groupies. The sidelines at marathons are far louder than the runners could ever be. You're just exhausted. How to go on when the finish line feels like it just keeps moving farther and farther away
Acknowledge how you feel.
So often we fight our emotions feeling like we shouldn’t feel them or because they’re unpleasant we don’t want to feel them. In pushing them away, we are rarely able to recognize what it is that we really do feel.
What we mistake as anxiety can be a wide range of other emotions.
Try to give yourself a few minutes and acknowledge what you do feel. Are you sad? Are you angry? Are you resentful? Are you overwhelmed? Relieved?
What is it? Give it space because by acknowledging it you will be able to figure out what to do about it.
Focus on how far you’ve come.
The feeling like you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel can leave you feeling hopeless. But if you look back, you have plenty of evidence of how far you’ve come and how much you’ve overcome.
By looking at the positive of what you have endured so far you can regain the strength to get through another day.
Mark your time in smaller increments.
On the absolute worst days, imagining bringing your baby home may only lead you down a panic attack because it feels so impossible and scary to even dream about.
So, focus on the smallest chunk of time that feels comfortable. (Tweet that!)
Some days it may be to get to the end of the day. Others may be to get through an hour. Many NICU moms talk about sometimes even getting through 60 seconds.
Eventually it will all accumulate and you will be days or weeks past where you are right now.
You can do this. One day, one hour, one breath at a time. You can do this.
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