Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

It happens when I’m in Target, passing the baby section and see a couple excitedly scanning items for their baby registry.

Or when I’m in the park watching my boys happily playing and I glance over to see a mom clearly close to her due date pushing her toddler.

It even happens when I visit a close friend in the hospital after she’s given birth to her beautifully healthy, ready-to-go-home baby.

On the outside, I give a smile . . . but on the inside I feel that familiar crushing feeling.

The jealously. The anger. The resentment. The failure. My own internal struggle.

The reminder that I never got to carry my boys to term.

Many NICU parents will tell you what a rollercoaster their journey was; about how many hours they spent in agony over their child’s start at life in this world.

But few will tell you what a dark place they were in at this time in their lives. The dark that doesn’t end with discharge. The dark that doesn’t end with milestones. And the dark that cannot be explained.

The feelings that follow a traumatic birth can be shameful. Shame that is so heavy and black, it can swallow you for hours each day. The feelings of anger and loss over a pregnancy that was taken away. The emotions of not being able to provide a safe environment for your baby to grow. The complete isolation, loneliness and fog that can descend over your mind during the first weeks, months and sometimes years of your child’s life.

This blackness can be tough to acknowledge and to climb out of. Your partner may not feel the same way; your parents may not understand the cloud you are in; and your family and friends may not see in the pain in your eyes.

I cannot tell you these feelings will forever go away. We are nearly four years from our last NICU baby and I still struggle at times. Seeing an expectant mother in her last trimester can trigger feelings of jealousy, anger and resentment for no reason at all. Visiting a newborn baby in the hospital can send me into the memory of being in my own empty hospital room listening to crying babies and new mothers all around me. And desires about adding to our family have nearly disappeared for fear of repeating our experience a third time.

I have learned time and gratitude are natural healing agents. I practice soaking in moments, being thankful and journaling to get me through the waves of anxiety that sometimes peek through my days. I have also discovered talking about my experience with those that have been through it helps immensely and sharing stories with moms who are currently traveling through the NICU journey can be therapeutic.

This darkness didn’t and doesn’t define me. It didn’t steal my love for my sons. It is something I acknowledge and recognize. And what comes out of the dark is warrior mama. One who will fight for her children forever. One who is passionate about helping those who are going through their own darkness and hopes to shine a light on their path, so they, too, may leave it behind them.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Pam Frasco

Pam Frasco is a proud preemie mama two-times over and founder of Project Preemie. Her experience with 31.5 weeker Sonny and 30.5 weeker Sal has given her a passion to connect with and give back to the Preemie & NICU Communities. Pam is a long-time March of Dimes supporter fundraising over $50,000 for the Cleveland March for Babies walk. Pam lives in Cleveland with her two sons, husband Nicholas and two Boston Terriers. 

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God Sends a Double Rainbow

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Two sacs as seen in early pregnancy sonogram

I lay on the ultrasound table prepared to hear the worst. While this pregnancy wasn’t totally expected, it was a miracle for me. I knew with the current stress in my life and the symptoms of a miscarriage, I may have to face another heartbreak to my series of heartbreaks over the last two years. I questioned what I did wrong to deserve it all. I prayed I had been stronger in my prior life: to have made better decisions. So I lay there, I held my breath, and I waited as the tech put the cold jelly over my...

Keep Reading

When Your Baby becomes a Big Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy smiling with hoodie on

My son recently learned how to climb out of things, so I asked my husband to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed today. I snapped one last picture of my son in his crib before I hurried off to get him dressed for school. As I got to work, I saw my husband had sent me a text of the transformed crib, and it just about killed me. I know, I know . . . what even changed? It pretty much looks the same. But it’s more than just the side of the...

Keep Reading

I Know This Baby Is Our Last and It’s Bittersweet

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman snuggling baby by window

Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

My Second, It Only Took a Second To Fall In Love With You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on chest, black and white image

You were the second. The second child who, as a mother, I wondered if I could love as much and as fiercely as my first. It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit. As much as you were so desperately prayed for, I was scared. So, so scared. I was scared I was going to fail you. You were the second. And already so loved. But, you see, your brother was my whole entire world. My everything. He made me a mother and gave me all the firsts. My lap was only so big. My heart was only so big. There was...

Keep Reading

Dear Helmet Mama, It’s Not Your Fault

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding baby with helmet, color photo

I’m a helmet mama. It’s something I never thought I’d say, but there it is. And I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Of course, at first, when the doctor referred us to see a specialist for “flat head,” I thought, “Oh, please no. Not my baby.” I’ve seen those babies, and I’ve always felt bad for them and wondered how their heads got that bad. And I’ll be honest, I’d usually pass judgment on the mother of that baby. So how did I end up with my own baby having a helmet on his head? It’s called torticollis—and...

Keep Reading

Thank You to the Nurses Who Cared for My Baby First

In: Baby, Motherhood
Infant in hospital isolette, color photo

I wish I knew who she (or he) was and what she looked like. Was she young or older, experienced or just starting out? How had her weekend been? Was she starting or ending a work shift at 2:30 a.m. that Monday morning when they ran me into the surgery room? The first few days after my son was born, he was kept in intermediate care as we recovered from an emergency C-section that saved both our lives—his by just a few minutes. I occasionally managed to shuffle over to see him, but was pretty weak myself, so the nurses...

Keep Reading

Hey Mama, This Is Your Labor & Delivery Nurse Speaking

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby looking up at labor and delivery nurse and smiling

First of all, mama, I want to congratulate you! Whether this is your first baby or not, I am honored to be here with you through this experience. Before you ask me, no, I do not care if you shaved your you know what. There are plenty of other things I’m thinking of, and that is not one of them. I’m so happy to be here for the birth of you and your baby, but most importantly, I’m happy to be here for YOU. It doesn’t matter to me if you want to breastfeed, it doesn’t matter if you want...

Keep Reading