PREMATURE BIRTH – NICU PARENTING
Studies show there is a deep psychological process of developing a relationship with the unborn baby that begins during the pregnancy. For the first two trimesters, Moms (and Dads) develop a detailed mental imagining of their unborn baby. During the last two months of pregnancy, as part of the normal process of giving birth, Moms begin to let go of their imagined baby, making psychological space for the personality of their real baby.
During a complicated pregnancy and a premature birth, this underlying, natural, psychological process is interrupted. The fantasy of perfect birth and baby comes abruptly to an end, without time for processing the reality. This can cause anxiety, confusion and depression. And of course there is the stress of worry for the baby’s survival.
Often partners discover they are very angry. Very angry with God, with their partner, with the medical establishment. It is helpful to realize anger is a normal emotion in the NICU situation. It can be processed and released in healthy way. Try to recognize that taking it out on your partner is not such a healthy or realistic release. There are other ways, such as exercise, journaling, talking about your feelings, and often a few sessions of counseling will help balance your emotions. EMDR is a wonderful mindbody tool to release trauma from the nervous system.