I’ve never shown anyone this photograph before, in fact I haven’t even looked at it since it was taken but I was looking back at NICU photos ahead of the boys second birthdays and I felt it was the one shot that really summed it up.
This is the first moment I held both of my babies together. I had held them individually but not together and you can see in my pained and twisted face every bit of the overwhelming love, relief, happiness, sadness and fear I felt the moment they were placed together into my arms.
I remember being terrified that I wouldn’t feel anything because I had already held them individually, because I had been staring at them in their incubators unable to pick them up, because I had gone home and been apart from them for several days and because all of my emotions felt like they had been put on mute.
I was in so much pain surrounded by a dark cloak of sadness but I was so numb I didn’t feel the full force of that sadness until weeks after the boys had come home. Instead I was like a hollow shell of a mother, walking around, talking, going through the motions but not feeling anything, not tasting anything, not really seeing anything.
And then I felt them against my chest, I felt them wriggle together like they had in my womb, I felt their breath on my skin, I heard their tiny noises and it was exquisite.
I needn’t of worried about whether my mind would allow me to feel during that moment because like a sledge hammer my overwhelming love and maternal instincts smashed down the wall that was protecting my mind and the force of the emotion I felt in that moment was beyond anything.
I cried so hard I trembled, I couldn’t breathe, I was so in love and so blessed and so relieved yet still so so very sad. After cuddles I had to place the boys back into their incubators, say goodbye to them and leave the hospital. Like a switch the wall in my mind re built itself and once again I was numb and lifeless, my soul was locked inside their incubators and I was broken.
I will forever remember what being the boys mother meant in those early days. It meant pain and fear, loss and grief, sadness and darkness. It meant loneliness and helplessness, distance and guilt, anxiety, terror and despair. It meant shutting myself down to cope, it meant sacrifice and longing, it meant suffering and enduring and most of all it meant a mothers love that was so overwhelming it kept her moving forward.
But we got through, we got through the pain and the darkness. It didn’t happen when we left the hospital or even in the weeks that followed, it took a very long time to process what had happened to our family and what we had endured but I got there. And now being the boys mother means laughter and silliness, cuddles and snotty kisses, play fights and peek a boo, snuggles and hide and seek. It means looking forward to the future, treasuring the present and enjoying seeing them grow, it means soaking them in and being amazed by the little people they have become, it means loving them with every piece of me and most of all it means being their mother, every minute of everyday.
Keep going NICU mum’s the pain will fade and the darkness will pass and before you know it you will be celebrating your preemies second birthday full of happiness, love, hope for the future and surrounded by light. Believe in yourself and your strength and believe in them, they will astound you. xxx