Having a baby in the hospital is hard for any parent to deal with, as you don’t have any control over the outcome. Feeling as if your life is in limbo can be rough to navigate, even for the most patient among us. It can be especially difficult during the holidays, while seeing all of your friends’ happy social media posts and barrage of holiday commercials. This is why Mia Carrow, a mom and writer over at Babble, wrote an open letter to moms who will be spending the holidays in the hospital because that’s where their babies are.
Carrow explains how her first child was born during the holiday season with severe medical issues–and was rushed to the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit in a children’s hospital over an hour away from her home on Christmas Eve. Her letter, however, focused on what moms can do to help themselves–and others–during this difficult time. What she said was poignant:
“This experience is difficult, and nothing anyone can say will change that fact. However, I need you to know that you can do this. Please reach out to others when you need comfort. Most people want to be supportive, but don’t know how. I was lucky to have my husband and our parents with us that Christmas Day. It made all the difference.
And if you can, bring a little bit of home with you. Being in the hospital can feel isolating. So decorate your baby’s room or crib, bring a special holiday blanket for them, or set up a table top Christmas tree or menorah. The little things will help you feel connected.”
What really resonated with me is the fact that she stressed self-care and self-love. It’s easy to put yourself last, especially when you have a family relying on you. However, if you aren’t feeling amazing, chances are, your family will notice, so ask for help, talk about how you feel–or simply watch a movie that will make you feel good, even if it’s just for a moment. Carrow went on to say:
“Please don’t forget to care for yourself this holiday season, too. I know it sounds cliché, but it is so important. I remember not wanting to do anything but sit by my daughter’s isolette. I had no appetite and had to force myself to eat. You have to eat! And make sure you have time to rest. You cannot run on empty. Although these things sound like common sense, you and I both know how difficult they can be. Try to do something that is comforting to you every once in a while, like taking a walk or listening to music. It will help you stay healthy and grounded during a time when you feel like things are out of control.
Above all, please remember you are not alone this holiday season. You are not forgotten. You are not invisible. Please know that I see you. I understand.
Hang in there, mama. You are stronger than you think. I tell you this because, I know.”
I know it’s easier said than done, but moms, please take care of yourself this holiday season. Reach out if you need help, an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on. It’s not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength to reach out for what you need.