The first few times you come to visit your new your baby/babies in hospital it’s likely that you will both feel stressed and have little time to spare. The after effects of the entire birth process, which was most probably quite scary and unexpected. You may be scared of the procedures your baby is undergoing and scared of what may happen to them and if they will live or die. You may feel frustrated that you seem so helpless to your new baby, and also frustrated that you don’t feel physically well and require help to even make it to visit them. You may feel shocked that the pregnancy is really over and you are now a parent. You may feel depressed at the loss of a normal childbirth, an easy baby, and the uncertainty of the near and distant future after they are born.
You may also feel joy and happiness together with these other thoughts. You may feel joyous at the birth. You may feel lots of affection and a strong bond of love towards your baby. You may feel like telling the world about your birth – having everyone celebrate the arrival of your baby. You may also feel guilty when you have these joyous thoughts, like you should not be celebrating and rejoicing when your child is so sick. But they too are normal! It is right to feel this way!
You may distance yourself from your baby, choosing not to bond too closely or fall in love with a baby who just might not make it to tomorrow. You may want to put off naming your baby, you may refrain from visiting or looking at his/her photos. You may not want to share the news with others. All these feelings are SO NORMAL and something that nearly every parent of a premature baby feels at some time or another throughout their journey.
You are probably thinking, “How will I ever deal with these feelings?”
The first step is realising that what you are feeling, saying, doing, is normal and to be expected. There is no one right way to go through the experience of having a premature baby, and everyone will cope a little differently, most of the reactions and emotions are the same majority of the time.
It can help just knowing what is common when battling this trauma. Try talking with other parents in the NICU or a counsellor if you are finding it hard to deal with. You can approach them as you are entering, when you are sitting in the nursery or in the expressing room. You will be surprised at how alone they too feel, and how unsure and scared of the whole NICU trip. You will most likely meet other parents who have been in NICU for weeks or even months and sometimes just listening to their journey might give you solice about your journey ahead. You will probably be amazed at how readily friendships are formed in the NICU, because other parents need you as much as you need them. During your babies stay in the nursery medical teams will be overlooking & helping your baby to grow. Whilst you are in the nursery visiting your baby if you require more information on your babies prognosis &/or condition do not hesitate to ask one of the doctors for answers.
Try joining one of the many premmie discussion groups like the L’il Aussie Prems forum to chat to other parents or check out premature baby books. You can purchase one of these books from the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Bookstore or join Lifes Little Treasures to receive one of their free Parents Information Guides when you become a member.
Preemie parenting – retrieved 2007
Kerry Bone – retrieved 2007
The subject matter provided in these articles is strictly for informational purposes alone and should never be used in the place of a doctor’s advice. Please ALWAYS contact your doctor if you ever have questions or need advice in any area where medical advice is needed or medication is suggested.