You find yourself in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit); your baby has come into the world prematurely and suddenly your “perfect” pregnancy takes on an entirely new definition: that of being the parent of a premature baby. After searching for a reason as to “why” this has happened by absorbing every book, article and website you can find on the topic, you quickly come to the realization that it’s not about the “why”…it’s about the “how” – how you’re going to deal with this unexpected experience…how you’re going to push past the feelings of anxiety and fear and bring yourself to a place of strength for you and your baby.
When I had my twin preemies at just 25 weeks, they weighed 1 pound 12 ounces each. When the fog cleared, I realized that I had to develop a way of coping with my new “normal”. The first thing I did was create a vision of who I needed to become to give my babies what they needed to survive and thrive. Below are five simple principles of P.E.A.C.E. I developed that helped me. They can guide you through the discovery process of going from discharging the NICU to admit a new you…both now and in the years to come.
The “P” in P.E.A.C.E. stands for Power: The power of intention is greater than any current reality.
Intention is defined as “an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.” Simply put, it’s a tool to create whatever you want in harnessing an emotional advantage over the NICU and all that it brings. Make your intention clear and focus on it.
The “E” in P.E.A.C.E. stands for Energy: Everything is energy.
Everything is energy and energy is every thing, including your thoughts, feelings, words and actions. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances are at the present moment. Think positively, expect only favorable results and situations, and circumstances will change accordingly. It may take some time for the changes to take place, but eventually they do. If you feel any inner resistance when replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, do not give up, but keep looking only at the beneficial, good and happy thoughts in your mind.
The “A” in P.E.A.C.E. stands for All: All things will move into balance eventually.
You may look at your baby, attached to wires and monitors, and feel as though nothing in your life will ever be the same again. But with positive thoughts and positive energy, you’ll be able to find peace in the knowledge that all things will balance out in time.
The “C” in P.E.A.C.E. stands for Caring: Caring for you precedes caring for anyone else.
Caring for your premature baby is much like flying on an airplane; you’re told that if there’s a problem and a mask drops down, you need to put yours on first so you can help others. The same applies now; you’ve got to maintain physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health in order to be strong for your baby and those around you. You’ve got to nurture yourself if you want to be able to nurture your baby.
The “E” in P.E.A.C.E. stands for Everything: Everything is exactly as the Universe intended it to be.
As you embark on this journey as the parent of premature baby, remain open to opportunities for your own personal growth. Good things will happen and bad things will happen. Choose to focus on the good – those things you want to bring into your life - and the Universe will align to make them happen. Accept your situation, knowing everything is exactly as it was intended to be.
These principles are the foundation for being the best you can be for you, and ultimately, your premature baby; use them to help you transform the NICU to a new you. Take comfort in knowing that everything happens for a reason…even this.
Tami C. Gaines, the mother of four children (including premature twins born at just 25 weeks), has achieved national recognition as an advocate and spokesperson for parents of premature babies. With an M.B.A. from Columbia University and twenty-five years as an entrepreneur and executive, Tami could not have foreseen the events that would take her from the board room to the hospital room. Tami’s book, Preemie Parents: 26 Ways to Grow With Your Premature Baby helps other parents of premature babies learn to cope -- as she has -- by opening their hearts to learning life’s lessons. For more information and inspiration, visit www.PreemieParents.com .
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