Don’t Ask Questions

Don’t ask questions in a NICU waiting room. Especially to those wearing the super-special wristband that screams “shackled to the hospital.” Especially not to a mom with tears in her eyes, and exhaustion on her face.

Dear Proud New Grandmother,

Hi. Congratulations on your twin granddaughters. I’m sure they are the apples of your eye, and the sweetest, most precious babies you have ever laid eyes on. I’m sure your daughter, or daughter-in-law gave birth to them a few weeks early, and they need some love and care in the NICU for a few days or weeks while they grow just a wee bit more. It’s a special time; bask in it.

But. Don’t ask me, a complete stranger, whose appearance suggests (no, demands) that I have not taken a shower today, if I’m a “NICU mom.” THEN, don’t inform me that you could tell because of my tired look. And, your final question is exactly why you don’t ask questions in the NICU: how many weeks early was my baby?

He wasn’t. He was a scheduled, 40 week baby. Not all babies that are in the NICU are here because they were born premature. Many of them are here because they need serious help. The parents of those kinds of kids are seriously stressed, and most are on the brink of tears 24/7. I know I am. If a dog barks wrong, I end up crying buckets.

I can imagine all NICU stays are stressful, because what all parents want is to get their sweet baby home, into the house and nursery they prepared especially for them. Some of them get to go home sooner than others, and some of us don’t have an end date in sight, because there are still tests and surgeries blocking the light at the end of the tunnel.

So, be excited for your new grand babies, but, please, don’t ask questions in the NICU, unless you want a sobbing woman standing in front of the elevators as you attempt “small talk.”

Just… don’t.

Sincerely,
Woman On the Brink Of Tears In Front Of the Elevator

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