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How To Make The NICU A Little Less Scary

I wake up feeling the weight of the coming week. 

It’s Saturday morning, a travel day, and I need to catch a cab by 7:30am. I feel like I’m running behind in life and work. 

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time out of town, work-related as it was. But Monday still looms. I know you get this. 

I pull back the hotel room curtains hoping to be energized by an expansive pale blue morning sky. Instead I see this: 

Somehow, the contrast of light and color soothes me. It’s not what I hoped for, but it’s what I need. 

That little peaceful moment flips a switch in me. I remember that I get to choose how I think about everything. Even Mondays. 

I recall that my mood, perspective and energy often determine the atmosphere of the house as I return. If I arrive exhausted, frazzled and hurried, I see it reflected in the faces of my family, like a pebble dropped into still water. 

I nearly bring the unconscious, weighted version of that pebble into my house. (As I have many times.) The thought startles me. Instead I choose to be centered, present, interested, untethered from worry. 

You have the same choice. 

At home, in the NICU, or out to dinner with your best friend. 

That doesn’t mean you’re all sunshine and rainbows. This isn’t about faking joy. It is about knowing you are the leader of your life and choosing how you show up. It’s knowing you can set aside stress for a moment and listen. (The work and stress will wait for you and often dissipates while you’re off enjoying the actual moment.) 

Imagine the many and varied ripples that babies and families feel from the endless line of caregivers in the NICU. 

This morning, choose what kind of energy you want to leave in your wake. What kind do you want to experience in return? 

What type of ripples make an intensive care unit a little less scary and a little more welcoming?

You have many types of pebbles. Choose to drop the most beautiful one into the still waters today and watch what is reflected back to you. 

It changes everything.