G is for Gut Feelings

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GWhen my micro-preemie twins were in the NICU, I spent that time by cracking jokes.

“Why should I be worried about the blood transfusions?” I recall telling our primary nurse. “It’s not like I’m the one giving them. That would be something to worry about!”

In the two years that followed—which included two flu seasons’ worth of Synagis shots, monthly visits with infant development specialists and quarterly visits to the pediatric dentist—I kept up my mask. It wasn’t that bad, I told myself. Especially now that everything was fine.

When we were in the NICU, I was so afraid that if I let a wisp of fear, anxiety, worry or helplessness float to the surface, that I would crack and then I wouldn’t have the strength to take care of my little babies. And then when we were out of the NICU, I figured that since my boys had escaped infant death and disability, that I had escaped, too. I didn’t need to go back and feel all those scary emotions. Even in my writing, I muted my feelings.

I was scared that if I admitted to myself what the boys really looked like in those early days it might mean that I didn’t love them unconditionally. And I worried that if I admitted to myself that they might die, it also meant that I wasn’t optimistic.

3 thoughts on “G is for Gut Feelings

  1. Sue LeBreton

    Oh Janine. I so get this. It took me more than a decade to be able to write about Abbey’s cancer experience and although she’s well, living with the “almost died” is scary. But through writing I am revisiting and I think healing what I could not process then.

  2. thank you, Sue. This is what I couldn’t fit into the review for Kate’s book. I’m happy I could find a home for it. I just let out a heavy sigh.

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