NICU remains a mysterious and unknown place to those who have not lived it and for that reason perhaps it isn’t immediately obvious to see a link between time in NICU and PTSD. Raising awareness and speaking honestly about our experience and the true realities of neonatal care is therefore crucial:
Of the uncertainly and unknown. The panic that sets in when your baby is not in their incubator space when you arrive, have they been moved – is the news good of bad?
Of the physical pain at having to leave your new born everyday. The feelings of emptiness and loss.
Of the ups and downs; the lines, wires, monitors and alarms.
Of the hot, close, claustrophobic environment.
The security buzzers at the entrance and of the constant rigorous hand washing.
Feeling watched as you attend to the simplest of cares such as changing a nappy – of struggling with the simplest of cares such as changing a nappy!
And the feelings of guilt, jealousy, grief and loss that go hand-in-hand and in stark contrast to the feelings of joy, anticipation and hope.
I will always be a NICU mum; and PTSD will always be lurking around the corner.