Life after NICU during Lockdown
Having your baby in NICU is scary at the best of times and being away from your newborn is hard for anyone, but I really feel for parents whose premature or poorly babies have been born during Lockdown 2020 and whose time with their baby is further restricted.
Visitors are restricted in NICU, usually to parents, direct siblings and occasionally grandparents, but other than that, for the most part you are pretty isolated. Parents with babies in neo-natal care often feel alone, out of their depth and strangers in a world they never knew existed before. It's very stressful but the stress must be ten times worse when worrying about the risk of infection or threatened with further limited visiting time.
Yet sometimes you can feel that having your baby in a neo-natal unit is the safest place on earth for them to be. A protected bubble with all the best equipment to support them and best specialists to care for them. Quite often there was nowhere I would rather my babies' to be. I started to get fearful about the real, outside world and all its dangers as they grew stronger and their time for graduation got nearer. I simply can't comprehend how parents in these strange times now feel with increased dangers in a world full of fear, uncertainty and suspicion of those spreading this horrid virus.
I'd reassure a NICU parent worrying about the outside world that their very fears of leaving the neo-natal bubble, is exactly what will keep your baby safe. Being in NICU heightens your sensitivity, sharpens your awareness of potential dangers and increases your determination to do everything and anything you need to to keep your child safe. My twins are 7 and I still feel alert, sensitive and focussed on ensuring they are OK.
Stop worrying, you will find the strength to do all you need to do to create a safe and secure environment. You will find the strength to ask someone to deep clean the house before you come home, to fill the cupboard with anti-bac and sanitiser and don't worry, yes you will find the determination to ask friends and relatives to stay away. It might be hard, but don't worry, you will.
It's not ideal, in fact it's heartbreaking but it is essential and it is part of your role as a parent now. Don't worry, you will find all that you need to be strong, stubborn and focussed on sticking by what you know is best for your baby.
Don't worry Mama, these are without doubt frightening times but you do have everything within you to protect your preemie when you finally leave NICU. You've got this!