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To the Mama Spending This Mother's Day With Her Baby in the NICU

To the mother sitting bedside in the NICU,

I know this is not how you envisioned Mother’s Day. I know right now it hurts. There is no breakfast in bed, morning snuggles, or cuddling your little miracle all day while you gaze into their eyes wondering how you ever got so lucky. Instead, you woke up today and got ready to go visit your medically fragile child who is currently living in a neonatal intensive care unit. I am so sorry for this.

The enormous emotional force surrounding Mother’s Day is not something you can just pretend isn’t there, and to not recognize the pain you are feeling would be a complete disservice to yourself. That being said, I want to assure you, motherhood is so much more than one special day a year.

Embracing the unexpected, like you are doing right now, is preparing you for the days ahead. Motherhood is a neverending cycle of emotions. These days in the NICU are molding you into a new version of yourself, the very best version of yourself. You will walk out of this a different person. In my experience, you will have a new outlook and new appreciation for the smallest moments in life, those that most take for granted. You will look back on this first Mother’s Day and rejoice in how far your child has come. You will think back on how you had no idea how you were going to make it through this, but you did. You will have so much pride in your journey that the pain you are feeling right now, will be minuscule in comparison to the joy.

So today, while you sit next to the incubator shedding a few tears and grieving the pregnancy you thought you would have, make sure to reflect on the fact that you are still a mother and motherhood looks different for everyone. Know that you are strong, you are amazing, and you have everything inside of you already to get through this.

Happy Mother’s Day, mama.

Embracing the unexpected when your baby is in the NICU.

Getty image by Jill Lehmann Photography.

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