Hi mama,

You’ve been home for six months now. I bet some days it feels like you just left the NICU, and other times it feels a world away.

You’re out of the woods now, right? But you may wonder why you cry sometimes. Why you feel terrified every time your baby coughs, or why sometimes your heart feels like it’s going to beat out of its chest.

People probably tell you things like, “I’m so glad baby is all better!” and you might just look at them, thinking man, if only you knew. You may feel like you will never be all better, and like your journey to find new normal has just begun.

It’s OK, Mama. It’s OK to be scared. It’s OK to be sad. It’s even OK to be angry. But you know what else? It’s OK to take some time for you. To find your footing. To open yourself up to all those emotions inside the warrior that you are and let yourself feel them. To take care of yourself is the greatest gift you can give that tiny baby. You must first love yourself to love them your best.

I’m here for you, mama. We all are. The NICU club? It’s made of other mamas just like you. Scared, sad—just fighting for our little ones. Then in a moment, we pack up and go home, left thinking how did that happen?

The NICU—it takes amazing care of the tiniest of humans and prepares us to go on our way, to care for our little babies as a team of a few rather than the army of many. We are left with this new “normal” we didn’t plan for; the world goes back to where it was. Maybe for everyone but you.

I’m here to tell you that it will. Your baby will grow, and so will you. One day, you will notice your heart stops a little less, you smile a little more, and you can enjoy the little things again. That thing that gnawed at your soul and reminded you of your darkest moments begins to fade, and the light starts to come back in.

You’ve got this mama. You are the mother of a warrior—that didn’t happen by accident.

You’re strong. You’re amazing. And you’re going to be OK—even if you’re not today.

I’m here for you.

You may also like:

Dear NICU Mom, I See You

To the Nurses Who Care For So Much More Than Our Sick Babies, Thank You

Dear NICU Mom, You Were Chosen To Be the Mother of a Miracle

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Jessica Tyler

Jessica is originally a Midwesterner, born and raised in the Chicago suburbs. After moving around a bit, she settled in Colorado with her family. She lives with her husband, Jeff, and sons William and Benjamin. In her free time, she attempts to be outdoorsy, loves to cook, read and drink wine. You can find her on her blog, I Dream of Naptime.