What I Learned in the NICU

Commonalities among parents in the NICU

Interview with Kim Wilson

What did you learned about yourself through your experience in the NICU?

That I am not the only one with specific worries, concerns and feelings. Regardless of the child's gestational age at birth or the cause of prematurity most parents of premature infants have many things in common. For example, most share the emotional roller coaster and the one-step-forward-five-steps-back syndrome. We also share similar concerns for the future such as wondering what long term effects, if any, the child will suffer because he or she was premature.

Also, many mothers (including myself) feel guilty if we cannot breast feed or if we're pumping and naturally dry up. To us, it's the last maternal thing we, as mothers, can do for our child.

I also learned that I'm not the only mother who felt cheated because I missed the majority of my third trimester.

What advice do you have for new preemie parents?

Take things one step at a time, whether it's minute by minute or day by day. Things will eventually get better and soon the roller coaster ride you're experiencing will turn into an easy going merry-go-round.

Also, try and take care of yourself. I know it's hard, but try to eat on a regular basis and get some sleep.

It's also important to remember that your child is an individual and will do things at his/her pace. Just because another baby is progressing faster doesn't mean something is wrong with your child.

Kim Wilson is the co-author of Living Miracles.