Blessings to be Found in the Struggles of Life
Many people have heard me talk about our NICU experience and a moment that a fellow NICU mom shared a bit of wisdom with me that helped turn my attitude around. I had been struggling mentally with all that had happened and I felt cheated, robbed of so much. I walked up to the NICU doors every day already feeling defeated, sleep deprived, and worn down. A mom next to me at the doors came in with a smile on her face, curls in her hair, and even little heels on her feet. I thought she must be hospital staff for sure, but then in she walked into one of the tiny rooms just down from me.
I asked my nurse about her, she said they called her the Disney Princess. Yes she was always that cheerful, yes she always smiled, and honestly, she did not think it was an act. I asked my nurse if she would ask the Disney Princess if she wouldn’t mind talking with me sometime, I wanted to know how she had such a great attitude amidst such hardship.
That evening, before she headed home, the Princess stopped in my room and sat across from me holding my son. She told me this was her second premature child and she had learned how to not only survive this challenging time, but to embrace the time with her babies. We talked about having a schedule, giving yourself grace (and sleep and showers), and then she said something that amazed me, she said “We are just so blessed to get to sit and hold our babies all day. How many moms get to do that with their second baby?”
Blessed was not the word I had been using to describe my current state. I did not feel blessed at all, but she was right. Once I saw the blessing in holding my son, I started to see many others. My perspective had shifted and where I once only saw sadness, guilt, and pain I started to see all the goodness around my beautiful son growing and strengthening and all that was happening around his little life.
I spent 57 days in a small cold room with my tiny baby. We now call it the “Summer of Finn.” Today I think I am on day 39 of quarantine in Idaho. I had a lot of negative feelings in those first days, the greatest of which was fear for my Finn’s vulnerability to this virus. Then there was anxiousness, confusion, frustration, and ultimately at times, boredom.
But my perspective has shifted over time. I am seeing blessings clearly all around me and I have such gratitude for this time. And not only have I seen this perspective shift in myself, but also in so many people around me. We are looking at our safe homes, our time with family, and for those of us who are lucky enough to be healthy, our health, as incredible blessings in this time.
I would never have wished for my son to be born premature, but I am thankful for what I took from that time and of course for his life no matter what challenges come up. I am thankful for the understanding and empathy I can now have for NICU parents and for my understanding of what a miracle these little lives really are.
I understand how challenging and downright horrible this time is for so many and I do not mean to minimize that, but I am also choosing to see the joy, see the blessings, and see the hope in this time.
Some of the blessings I am personally grateful for right now include:
A home with a yard where my children can play
Zoom workouts from my gym (I never thought I would be someone who could faithfully workout from home).
Grocery stores and the people who keep them running so I can cook my family healthy meals
My children are at a stage in life where they are happy to be home with me
Disney+, am I right?
My husband still being able to work
Everyone in my family being under one roof, no one is in the hospital
I know not everyone has these same blessings, but I do believe everyone has something to be grateful for. If we shift our perspective away from fear and worry, we can better appreciate the simple realities right in front of us.
One night we turned our kitchen into a pizzaria and everyone dressed up!
We will look back on these days sometime in the future and what will we remember? How did we live them? What did we show our children of ourselves? How did we lead our families? Through every trial there is an opportunity to grow and to lead and to produce good. Now is our time. Quietly in our homes, amongst our families, in our day to day lives through small choices to shift our perspective to see the blessings, we are creating a time we will look back on that we chose to see the good.