Tuesday, April 22, 2014


When Joshua was about a week old, Jerry and I made our usual visit.  Because we were still not able to hold him frequently, I sat next to his incubator, reached inside and held his head.  Tears poured from my eyes uncontrollably.  You could blame the tears on postpartum hormones or the stress of having the little one in the NICU.

It wasn't either of those two things.  What I felt was a strange new emotion that I have decided to term sorrowful joy.  At that moment, I felt so much joy and love at the little thing that had grown in my belly.  I even missed feeling him kick around inside of me.  But I also felt a sadness of watching someone you love so much have to go through something so hard.

Since the first moment of his birth, Joshua has been poked, prodded, and pricked more than this little innocent thing deserves.  I've seen him get shots, IVs, Picc lines.  His eyes have been dilated.  His lungs and intestines X-rayed.  I could go on, but I think the list is extensive enough.  My heart hurts so much sometimes.

I could probably term this emotion parenthood.  Perhaps this new feeling is just a preparation as I imagine most parents encounter something similar.  It's funny how love seems to be a mash up of so many other feelings.



Laura said...

You have got to stop making me cry at work. It's so awkward. I know the feeling of sorrowful joy, and you have described it perfectly. I think it is part and parcel to becoming a mother, but I also think having a preemie in the NICU is just an extremely jolting introduction to parenthood. I remember just sobbing when I arrived at the NICU one morning and saw an IV in Amelia's forehead.

“Making the decision to have a child - it is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body. ” ― Elizabeth Stone.

Laura said...

P.S. I love that you're writing about all this!!!

Hannah said...

This made me tear up. It is so true and I love your term sorrowful joy. Your heart aches every time they have to go through something. When my little on gets shots, it is harder on me than on her.

Laura, I love your quote by Elizabeth Stone. It is so wonderful.

Joe and Joanne said...

Beautiful thoughts; beautifully written. Not surprising in the least coming from such a beautiful mother. Joshua is so fortunate to have you as his mommy Michelle; and every picture I see of him, even though only in still-image, I can see he's thriving incredibly in his circumstances. Joe and I are both praying that you'll be able to take him home soon! (And when you come back East next, you'll have to let us know -- we would love to meet the little man face-to-face).