10 Coping Tips for Parents with a Baby in the NICU

Equip Yourself for Changing Circumstances

Did you visualize what it would be like to learn you were pregnant and then to have the baby? Chances are, you stocked up on supplies during your pregnancy. Just as you prepared then, you can use preparation to help you now. In fact, Gunther, the March of Dimes manager of NICU Family Support Site Development mentioned earlier, describes this coping mechanism as "predict and prepare."

When you predict and prepare, you think through what may happen and ready yourself for it. For example, if you think your baby may need surgery, try to predict how you may react and what you'll need. Let people know and ask for assistance with daily chores so you can focus on your baby.

Or, Gunther gives another example of when she helped a mom think about what she would want at home when finally, after seven months, she was getting ready to take her baby home. She asked several questions -- Will you want people there? What would you like to eat? This is a moment of celebration; will your partner be there? Thinking ahead ensures you will have what you need and understand how you might react, whether it's a positive or negative event.

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