Coping with Your Emotions
The NICU experience can be a roller coaster of emotions. While your focus will primarily be on the care of your baby, paying attention to your physical and emotional needs will help you better meet your baby’s needs. You might feel disappointed that you can’t celebrate your baby’s arrival like you’d hoped. You might feel a mixture of excitement, sorrow, fear, grief, and anger. You may worry that because you can’t hold your baby, you won’t be able to bond. Feeling fearful and distant are common, normal reactions during the first days of your baby’s NICU stay and doesn’t mean you are not bonding; just be patient with yourself and allow the bond that began with your pregnancy continue to grow.
Caring for Yourself
Be sure to sleep and eat enough. It is perfectly understandable that you would feel overwhelmed, so give yourself permission to cry, take a day off, and talk to people who give you support, like your family, friends, social worker, clergy or other parents in the NICU. Remember that your team of caregivers are here for both you and your baby.
- PreemieCare: A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting families of infants born preterm through education, support, and resources.
- March of Dimes: The March of Dimes educates medical professionals and the public about best practices, supports lifesaving research, provides comfort and support to families in NICUs, and advocates for mothers and babies.
- Fragile Beginnings Phone Support Group: This telephone support group for parents whose babies have spent time in the NICU provides an opportunity to connect with other parents who have shared similar experiences and concerns.
- Englewood Health’s Gregory P. Shadek Behavioral Care Center: Our outpatient program offers appointments with psychiatrists and social workers for common mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.