Anger and the NICU

When my daughter was born 16 weeks early, I expected a lot of feelings.  Sorrow, fear, hope- but what I felt first and what overwhelmed me was anger.

Anger that my pregnancy had been stolen from me.

Anger that my baby had literally been cut out of me at 24 weeks.

Anger that my body had failed me.

Anger that my life had changed so drastically.

Anger that my baby had to fight for her life.

Anger that even though I had done EVERYTHING to provide the best health for my baby, everything had still gone wrong.

Anger that what should be a blissful life changing experience was now a personal tragedy.

Anger that I didn’t feel connected to her, for fear of losing her.

Anger when people said “Congratulations” about my baby.

Anger when people said “I’m so sorry” about my baby.

Anger when people didn’t say anything about my baby.

Anger that I couldn’t touch my baby on my own.

Anger that I felt like I needed permission to touch my own child.

Anger that I didn’t feel like I could share her with the world.

Anger that there was no one to be angry with.

Anger that life isn’t f#@$% fair.

I wanted to run, to scream, to cry, I wanted to fight everyone. Instead all I could do was numbly watch my tiny baby in her isolette, struggling to survive.  I simultaneously wanted to smash everything in sight and sink into a hole in the ground.  I wanted to disappear forever.

Eventually, the anger gave way to fear, sadness, depression, and then one day, a glimmer of hope.  As my daughter grew stronger, my days would get a little better, and a little brighter.  As she grew stronger, I felt like I was able to open my heart to her, and let her in.  When she had good days, I had good days. When she had bad days, I had bad days.  How she was doing was linked to me in every way.

One day, the good days started to outweigh the bad ones. And then one day, she came home, and the fear came back. The fear that without the care and oversight of our doctors and nurses, I would somehow fail her again. That I couldn’t take care of her on my own.  As the days passed, my confidence grew again, and her gurgles and coos lifted my spirits.  Each milestone for her was just as much a milestone for me.

Now, after two years have passed, I am finally able to seek joy again.  Through the help of friends, family, therapists and anti-depressants; the fog has lifted.  There is still work to be done, but I can also see how this new version of myself is one to be celebrated.

 

*Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels