Whose Baby?

We helped paint the interior of what will soon (fingers crossed) be our house.  (If you haven’t figured it out by now, I tend to be a bit superstitious when it comes to making announcements about things.)  It occurred to me later that my time spent there today was, emotionally, a much milder version of the experience I had when my firstborn was a premature infant in the NICU:

  • The dear one that supposedly was “mine” was under the total control of someone else who was calling all the shots
  • This someone else was doing all kinds of things to my dear one that were completely beyond my expertise and I could only observe helplessly
  • This someone else knew my dear one better than I did
  • This someone else directed my interactions with my dear one and evaluated me on my abilities
  • I felt emotionally distant, like I wanted to be in love and coo and snuggle with my dear one, but the someone else was standing there watching

I realize that I sound like an ungrateful wretch, making the someone else sound like some kind of tyrannical monster.  The Habitat construction folks we worked with, as well as the staff at the NICU where my daughter was cared for, are all very kind and warm individuals.  But this is all just my knee-jerk emotional response, so it’s not going to be reasonable or appreciative.  It is going to be, by nature of being an emotional response, drama-queen and over-the-top.

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3 responses to “Whose Baby?

  1. Both sound like perfectly reasonable reactions to me. It’s difficult when you lose the locus of control over things (or babies) which (who) are so important to you – on so many levels.
    It’ll happen. :)

  2. While I don’t have any experience with the house, I can certainly relate to the disconnect that comes with premature babies because both of mine were preemies. 5 years after the 1st child I still feel like I was not the mother I should have been when they were born, I did not bond with them very well until after they came home and became truly “mine” and not the NICU’s. In a lot of ways I resented the hospital staff for usurping my role as mother even though logically I knew that they needed care that I could not provide and I felt guilty for feeling that way. Intellectually, I know that I am not the only one who ever feels this way with preemies but it’s hard to be helpless and let other people do the things that you want to be able to do.
    Soon the house will be in your capable hands and you will be able to take it from”theirs” and make it “yours” with all the things that take it from a shelter and make it a home. “They” are only building the shell, you will do the harder work of making it a place to live. Just as the NICU staff helped nurture the body of your preemie but you shaped the person that she is.

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