After three NICU stays, becoming a mom twice in one year, the trauma of losing one child, 80 days on bed rest, all the emotions of bringing our second son home, and everything in between… I've struggled with figuring out my new life and finding my new self. My new self after loss, as a mom and a parent after loss all while dealing with postpartum depression, PTSD, and learning how grief and joy can co-exist.
Slowly I began noticing a change. New thoughts and feelings that weren't me. Well, weren't me a year ago. I needed to figure out the difference of what I needed help working through and what was a part of this new version of me.
As I continue to work through the grief and the trauma, I began to realize something I needed with the new version of me. It was boundaries. I needed self boundaries, boundaries as we build our family, and boundaries to help me work through my grief and trauma.
And guess what mamas, it's OKAY to need boundaries.
It's okay to want quality family time with just your family.
It's okay to need space.
It's okay to feel all the feelings and just be still when you need to.
It's okay to be in the NICU and request others not to touch or hold your child.
It's okay to not want to share some of the special moments.
It's okay to want your alone time.
It's okay to tell others what you need at this time.
It's okay that those needs and boundaries may change.
It's okay to miss loved ones, and yet want to live in a different state with your family.
It’s okay to need more boundaries from some people and less boundaries from others.
It's okay to know when you need a break.
It's okay to not know what you need.
It’s okay to ask for help, to see a therapist or to just confide in your best friends.
It's okay to need boundaries, mama.
Identifying and acknowledging boundaries has helped me understand these new emotions because the NICU changes you, losing a child changes you, trauma changes you, motherhood changes you. Share your boundaries with your support system. They may not know these new boundaries exist and cannot help or act unless you tell them.
As we embark on these journeys and find the new version of ourselves, remember: it's okay to need boundaries, mama.