When I met you today I saw it.
I saw the pain, the hurt in your eyes.
I heard the anger in your voice.
I understood your frustration.
It was so familiar to me.
Because I have been there, I too, am a NICU Mum.
Four years ago I felt so alone, so bitter and resentful of others.
I didn’t know anyone who had been through what we had.
I didn’t understand or know how to process the feelings that overwhelmed me every day.
All I needed was someone to tell me it was okay.
No one else could empathise with the fact I couldn’t move on, that NICU haunted me.
People wondered why it was all I could talk about, even after we came home.
Questioning why I was grieving my healthy baby, the one that didn’t exist.
The one that I dreamt about for 9 months.
No one could truly appreciate the anger I felt about being robbed of my start to motherhood.
When we came home everyone pushed me to move on, that it was over now as we had been discharged but it doesn’t work like that does it?
You don’t forget NICU, the sounds of the machines, the alarms and the world behind the double doors do you?
Then comes the pity, the fact people don’t want to talk about NICU, about illness and about the secret world that we were thrust into behind those double doors.
But, we need to talk about it, we need to process it and we need to make this feel as though it will be okay.
I wanted to take your hand and tell you what no one told me, that it’s okay to feel how you do.
That it is alright to be angry at the world, because I certainly was and at those ill-advised comments.
Being told again and again that I must be so strong, when I felt as though I was crumbling.
That it could have been worse despite having to watch as my son had open heart surgery before he could walk or talk.
Never be ashamed to talk about it, just because others don’t want to.
Don’t deny how you feel and be honest, with yourself and with the world.
Surround yourself with those that allow you to be yourself, that listen to you even when they don’t understand it themselves.
When I first met another NICU mum it felt as though the burden I had been carrying for all those months had lifted.
I felt so much lighter, I felt understood, and I felt as though I was normal.
The look in your eyes today, it took me back.
Every gut wrenching feeling washed over me, your pain resonated with me on a level that is almost indescribable.
I want you to know, I get it mama, I really do in only a way someone who has been through it can.
You are not alone.
I am here for you, part of the same club that neither of us asked to be in.
One that will be with us for a long time to come, if not forever.