I was you. I know your struggles. I know your grief. I know your pain in a way that only a parent who has walked those halls day in and day out possibly can. I know the joy in ounces gained and the tears in alarms beeping. I know the loneliness in a crowded room and I know the guilt of just wanting to ignore the world and hole up in those walls. I know that every day your little one wakes is a blessing and every night when you have to leave their side is a nightmare. I know, believe me…. I know.
But I can let you in on a secret. I also know for a fact, it ends. Someday, you will no longer be a NICU parent. Someday, it will be who you were. In the same way that you were once a teenager or you were once in a past love, someday it will be a chapter that you look back upon. It will be a fundamental piece of you but it won’t own you. Someday, it will be part of your story, part of where you came from, but it will no longer be who you are.
I tell you this in hopes that it will bring you light in your darkness. Faith in your troubled days. A light at the end of the worst tunnel you could ever imagine.
Whether you spend 30 days or 300 days in those wretched walls that feel strangely like home, one day it will be in the past. It never goes away. And every time you reach a birthday or your child makes an milestone you will remember (and be reminded by those around you) of your story. But someday, you will look at it as the source of your strength, instead of the vacuum that it is now.
I promise you….someday is coming.
Have faith in your little one.
They are only in chapter one.