Inadequate

Last night, I snuggled next to J at bedtime. I felt his bony, little shoulder on my cheek. I watched him chatter and giggle, and then I closed my eyes and thought about those first two days after he was born. When we were separated. I saw him through a glass box, and then they wheeled him away to a hospital 30 minutes from mine. My husband visited him. My mother, my father, and my sister visited him. My mother-in-law and my father-in-law visited him. But, his mother did not. When I think back to that time, it feels like a Twilight Zone. They put me to sleep, they took my baby, and then I sat in a hospital room for two days waiting to see him again. It was surreal. Was I even pregnant? Did I really have a baby? Was he really alive? Was I a mother? I certainly didn’t feel like it.

On Day 3 of my son’s life, I was released from the hospital. I remember my husband wheeling me into the NICU for the first time. The sounds were foreign. The smells were foreign. Overwhelmingly foreign. My husband had to show me how to scrub properly. He took me to J’s isolette, and he introduced me to his nurse. I felt out-of-place, truly like a visitor. And then I looked at that tiny baby in the big pexi-glass box under the bili lights.
Inadequate. I was wholly inadequate. I felt powerless, helpless, and clueless. Oh, and swollen and terribly sore too.
“Mama, WAKE! UP!” And here we are, J’s smiling face in my own. I am the one who knows him best. I am a hero to him, all-powerful and full of answers. If only I could go back and tell the woman I was then that she wouldn’t always be inadequate. If only I could tell her to be patient with herself and give it time.
We were all thrown into not just the deep end but a whirlpool. We were sucked under and spit out. We all struggled, my husband, my son, and me. But, then we all popped up to the surface, we found our places, and now we’re a family. 
And I might be many, many things, but inadequate is no longer one of them.

Comments

  1. oh, how this one made me cry…my experience was FAR from the rough journey(s) that you have had to go through, but i can identify 100% with every single word of this blog! i often think about how having my baby taken far away from me directly after birth is one of the most terrible things you can do to a mother. a stranger in the presence of your own child on that first “visit.” it’s unimaginable yet also my reality.
    so grateful to be on the other side with you now. 2 years and countng for us…

  2. Thanks, Molly! It always makes my heart happy to know someone else has felt what I’ve felt. And I followed your NICU journey from afar. I’m so glad your tiny baby is a toddler now!

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