If your premature infant is moved to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), you may become overwhelmed with new emotions and information. You and your loved ones may handle issues and feelings differently, and it may create a strain on your relationships.
Thinking of yourself and your relationships may not be easy when you are under a lot of stress. But your child or children depend on you to be physically and emotionally able to care for them.
Take a quiet moment and focus on yourself. Ask yourself, "How am I doing? What do I need right now?" Try to take time to get enough rest, food, exercise, and fresh air and sunlight. Do you have someone you can talk to: a partner, friend, parent, spiritual advisor, or counselor? If any of these basic needs aren't being met, make them a top priority.
- Arrange for and accept as much help from friends and family as you can.
- Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings.
- Visit with a friend, spiritual advisor, counselor, or social worker. It helps to talk about how you feel.
- If your hospital has a support group for NICU parents, try it out. Sometimes the best possible support comes from people who are going through the same issues that you are.
- See a mental health professional or go to the emergency room right away if you are having thoughts of hurting yourself or another person. Such thoughts can sometimes arise due to postpartum depression, severe stress, or both.
- Watch for signs of depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder. Seek help if you have symptoms.