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To the mamas and daddies navigating the NICU:

There’s no hard like NICU hard. Seeing your spanking-new beloved placed in a glass bassinet and rolled away from your aching breasts and empty armsit’s the absolute hardest. No one who hasn’t been there can possibly understand. But many of us out here get it.

We understand your emotionsthe tangled and tied-up ones that unraveled in that bassinet’s wake. Fear, anger, frustration, helplessness, sorrow. You feel like a failure. You feel completely undone. Defeated. 

But you’re not even one of those things. You are parents, and parents are practically superhuman. You have newborn super strength and newborn super weaknessthanks to that newborn little one lying in that glass manger with machinery lowing and no rooming-in with you for a while. 

But there is hope. And there is faith. And there is love. And the greatest of these is love.

RELATED: I Left My Heart in the NICU

Find someone who has been where you are. Use us. We will swaddle you all in love and prayers, tips, and comfort. 

While you snuggle up, skin-on-skin, whispering baby’s name in those shell-pink ears, we’re whispering our prayers into God’s. 

While you sing sweet lullabies to your little one, we sing praises in His name for you all.

While you watch her dreams flicker beneath opal-moon lids, we proclaim those dreams into existence.

We have you, while you have your babe. Because you don’t have superhuman strength. There are parts of your life that are impossible to carry right now. Give them to God.

Accept the weakness and accept His love and focus your strength on your babe. God will find a way. Whether it’s a church family, a school community, hospital services, or the kindness of strangers, love and support will arrive. Believe it.

RELATED: Dear NICU Parents, I Pray For You

Let Him do His job while the nurses and doctors do theirs. Let Him do His job, while you do the one that matters most right now:

Breathe in that new baby smell.
Touch those pebble-smooth toes.
Set that tiny pulse to beat in time with yours.
And manifest love in every single moment.

You may unravel a bit here and there. (Okay, a lot. We get it. We know.) But remember that you are not defeated. You have faith, hope, and love. 

And the greatest of these is love. 

You can do this hard thing. 

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

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So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Heather Peters Candela

Heather Peters Candela is a writer and teacher of high school English in Cartersville, Georgia. She has two sets of children, 24 years apart: grown adult daughters and 8-year-old sons. You may follow her writing at postmodernfamily.blog

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