The phrase "the moment you were born," for NICU parents, might conjure images of what was likely a traumatic delivery, the fervor of doctors and nurses transferring the baby to the intensive care unit, or the moment that the family's lives shifted toward a completely different reality than we'd ever expected. In the new book "The Moment You Were Born", however-- beautiful images couple with a story that is as expressive as it is meaningful-- to rewrite that narrative and attempt to create a space of calmness, even in difficult circumstances.
Written by a pediatric speech pathologist who has also worked in NICUs and with the children who have graduated from them; in addition to a clinical pediatric neuropsychologist who has worked in NICU follow up clinics as well as schools for children with special needs, the book is both gently educational and artistically beautiful. It's clear that it's written by individuals who have a deep knowledge of the NICU and the feelings that it can bring. The illustrations "normalize" the ways that NICU infants appear, while the text speaks to the various frustrations that come with not being able to hold your baby right away, focusing on the amount of love NICU parents feel towards their babies.
Not only is this book appropriate to read to your infant while s/he is still in the NICU, it may also be a helpful book to read to children when they ask what it was like when they were in the NICU. What I like about the notion of reading it in the NICU specifically is that it explains the difficulty of being in hospital and the deep desire that parents harbor to be able to hold and become close with their babies-- even when physically, they can't. To me it seems that it would be comforting to explain those circumstance to the baby, to use your calming voice to explain to them how strong they are, and how strong your love is for them. It's hard to adjust to the idea that the best way of strengthening your attachment with your baby is sometimes solely through the use of your voice; this book not only helps you guide that idea and feel more empowered within it; it very literally illustrates it and gives parents the opportunity to set a very loving tenor to that bond.
It's refreshing to read a book that specifically addresses the unique circumstances that NICU parents face, while at the same time giving suggestions as to how to build attachment, putting words to the strength of the babies and families who are going through the NICU, and talking about our babies' remarkable introduction to the world. I highly recommend this book to anyone who's been through the NICU, but especially to those families who have just been inducted into it, and are struggling to find a way to connect with their baby, and don't yet feel comfortable in knowing how.
Check it out here and stay tuned for a giveaway of a free copy from NICU Healing in the coming weeks!