by Kimberly Poteat
A mom means different things to so many people.
You do not have to birth a child to show a child unconditional love.
When I found out I was pregnant with my son, I felt instant love and happiness. I thought to myself, ‘I am finally going to know why people tell me just wait until you have kids.‘
At the time that expression did not mean anything to me.
Today that expression rings true in a lot of ways.
My mom used to tell me my birth story all the time. She was a teen mom and I was a preemie who spent a month in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). She told me what she felt, seeing me in an incubator so tiny and fragile.
She would describe her fears and happy moments to me.
I would always tell her I could only imagine how she felt in those moments.
Now I’ve grown up and I know how my mom felt.
I no longer imagine it because my son was a preemie and spent five months in the hospital.
We all have our own feelings and even though my son had severe health issues and I was just small and needed extra time to grow, my mom and I can relate to each other better than before.
A bond between a mother and child is so strong.
I spent everyday at the hospital for 5 long months.
Sometimes I would let my fears get the best of me.
I just reminded myself this is temporary, he will be fine and he will come home soon.
He had to get to a ‘certain weight’ before they could do any type of surgery. He was born with a heart condition, his esophagus was not connected at birth. This is known as Esophageal Atresia.
I prayed all the time. Just wanting my son to come home with me and make it through each surgery unharmed.
If you are a NICU mom or a new mom, I have been there, our days run together a lot. We are tired more than not, we put ourselves last for the sake of our children.
Find your support system.
Luckily I have a big support system.
My mother in law came to us in our time of need and gave me and my husband a place to stay. Family members came and visited my son in the hospital.
Support groups are the best if it is hard to rely on family.
It is one of the hardest things as a parent, to watch your kid go through something you have no control over.
That is why support is so important; whether it be from friends, family or people who have been in your shoes and can relate.
Even when people can not relate to what you are going through, just to hear kind words and still treat your kid like they would treat their own is enough.
When my son was finally going home, it was bitter sweet. He had the same nurses watch over him for the most part, they were happy but sad to see him go.
If you like journaling, if you feel like writing things down, it will help you try to journal twice a week. I kept one when I was pregnant, I didn’t keep up with it.
What helped me was talking to someone.
My someone was my mom or my husband.
I spend all day, every day with my little guy. I stay home with him, which has been a blessing. He is a mama’s boy, I love when I walk into a room and he just lights up.
So here are my tips for you:
1. Remind yourself that this is only temporary – this too shall pass.
2. Keep a journal – write out how you’re feeling.
3. Find your support system. Talk with them often.
If you are struggling as a new mom or your little is in the hospital and you feel overwhelmed and stressed do not hesitate to ask for help. I would be happy to talk with you and walk you through your time of need. Do not feel like you have to face things alone.
Also remember to cherish every moment – even the hard moments.
They are only small for so long. They grow in a blink of an eye.
My name is Kim.
Kim is a stay-at-home mom with a wonderful little boy. You can hear all about him at https://www.happymommytiredmommy.com. Do not hesitate to contact Kim if your child is in the hospital and you need some emotional support.