A high-risk pregnancy or having a baby in the NICU can drain the happiness right out of you.
With every pregnancy complication that arises, every threat of delivering early, every set back with your baby's growth it can leave you feeling down about yourself.
You might find yourself wondering what you're doing to cause all of this. The idea that your baby could be suffering because your body is having a difficult time being healthy while pregnant can be unbearable.
It's so easy to blame yourself.
But it's hurting you to do so.
By blaming yourself and allowing yourself to feel like you've failed, you're creating a habit of negative thoughts.
And these negative thoughts are powerful.
So powerful that they not only bring your mood down but they make your muscles tense up and increase inflammation in your body. (Tweet that!)
Because of these negative thoughts you get stuck in a cycle.
You won't let yourself be fully happy or be fully present in the moment because you believe you don't deserve it.
And then you don't get the full experience of deep joy during the special moments when your baby kicks or when you stop a treatment or even when you get to snuggle.
Because in the back of your mind you're still beating yourself up for what you all have been through. And the cycle continues.
But you don't deserve that.
Take some time to remind yourself this is not your fault.
You did not cause your pregnancy complications or preterm birth. As much as you want to wrack your brain to find any tiny thing that you can blame. This was not your fault.
A high risk pregnancy and preterm birth can happen to anyone. (Tweet that!)
Related to that, don’t compare your pregnancy to others either.
They may have done just what you had done or done something different and their outcome may have been better than yours. But that doesn’t mean it’s because of what they were doing and what you’ weren’t. Or vice versa.
What happened in your pregnancy and with your baby does not define who you are.
It’s something that happened to you but does not define you. Just as a person with diabetes is not a diabetic or a person with schizophrenia is not a schizophrenic, you aren’t a “preterm laborer” or a “high-risk pregnant”.
Pregnancy complications happened to you. An early delivery happened to you. A premature birth happened to your baby.
It doesn’t define who you are. It’s just a part of your story. (Tweet that!)
There is a significant loss with coming to terms with a high-risk pregnancy and a NICU stay.
It cuts deep to know that your journey toward motherhood was altered so drastically. Give yourself time to sit with that grief. Accept the pain. Acknowledge the hurt. Give it space or else it will fester and find another way out.
Reach out and ask for help
So many moms with high-risk pregnancies and babies in the NICU also tend to isolate themselves. It’s just easier to whittle down life to the bare essentials when you’re so terrified and worried every second of every day.
But by doing that you’re allowing yourself to sit with your own thoughts, thoughts that are inaccurate and hurtful to you.
If you can’t maintain your full social calendar, reach out to a trusted few who you know and trust to provide you with support and love. They will help pull you out of your head and back into reality.
No matter how supportive and loving your friends are, no matter how much they tell you that you are not to blame, the power lies with you.
You will stop feeling like a failure when you change the way you think about what you have been through.
When the story you tell yourself becomes one of compassion and understanding, those negative, blaming thoughts will start to fade away.
If you are ready to break through those thoughts so you can release the weight of that misplaced blame, I’m more than ready to support you.
Join the Community
If you enjoyed this post, I invite you to join my Perinatal Wellness Inner Circle by signing up right below this post.
That’s where I share my most heartfelt thoughts, personal stories and extra tips that I don't share anywhere else to give you hope and help you cope through this really difficult time.
You’ll also get access to my private online community where you can get support from other moms who are fighting for their baby too.