Have you ever read something and thought, “That's me!”? Maybe it was a TikTok or Instagram reel. Maybe it was a book or even just a meme. Chances are, you felt seen and validated reading that you're not the only one. Sharing a fleeting moment of connection with the person on the other side of the writing.
What if you were able to create that fleeting moment of validation as someone else scrolled? Or better yet, you captured their attention and what was a fleeting moment becomes a lasting impact? That's the power that vulnerability has on a reader.
As a NICU mom, there were many times I sat and felt completely alone. As if I was the first and only mom to ever experience this because no one I knew had gone through something like this. So I did what anyone searching for connection would do… I took to social media. I started writing my story, all of the highs and lows, for strangers on the Internet to read. As weird as it was, a beautiful thing happened. I found out that I wasn't the only one. Turns out there have been NICU moms that have gone before me and there were NICU moms after me that my story resonated with.
I have found that being open and honest has a way of connecting and resonating with readers in a really meaningful and powerful way.
The big question is, how do we find the courage to write vulnerably? To be open and honest about the NICU experience when we don't know how others will respond? It's kind of scary and intimidating to think of strangers whether on the Internet or picking up my book have an inside look into my life.
I want to paint you a picture.
You're a first-time mom who finds herself in the NICU with her baby. No one is allowed to visit except the parents so you sit and feel the most alone you ever have in your life. Though you're surrounded by nurses, doctors, respiratory therapists, lactation consultants, and more you might as well be on a deserted island. You go online desperately searching for anything to make you feel validated and you find a book written by a NICU mom or another NICU parent's Instagram account. You start reading and/or scrolling, seeing yourself in every page or post. Suddenly, you feel a little less alone. You have hope. “They did it. Maybe I can too,” crosses your mind for the first time.
Now I ask you again, how do we find the courage to write our true feelings and emotions? We think of others like us who may read our stories and find the courage to keep going.
The world is waiting for your NICU story. Your beautiful, messy, rollercoaster, miracle of a story. So be brave. Be bold. Be vulnerable. And know that by sharing your NICU journey, you have given someone the courage to keep going.
Jes is a two-time preemie parent and author. Her book is titled
NICU Mamahood: The Musings of a NICU Mama by Jes Wagner.