Having a baby is a time for celebration. When your newborn is admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit due to prematurity or a medical condition that delays the transition home, vulnerability, stress, and overwhelm over shadow this joy. As much as support from others is welcome at a time like this, it becomes crucial to gather your inner strengths and connect to your support within. Practicing these 5 Steps opens the door to connecting to your inner power.
1.Spend time each day in GRATITIUDE
Have you ever been around someone who seems to have endless energy, always positive and just goes with the flow regardless of the circumstances? Practicing Gratitude is one way to tap into your positive energy so that you can embrace what is going well for you. The more hectic life becomes, the less we appreciate all the wondrous things around us. We concentrate on what is missing and forget what we already have. Blessings are everywhere when we make a point to look for them. It may be in the form of a kind word, a Good Morning smile from a stranger, or the support of a friend. On this emotional rollercoaster, spend a few minutes each day saying “thank you” to the universe for your blessings.

“A smile is a light in the window of the soul indicating that the heart is at home.” -Anonymous
Who and what are you grateful for in your life?
How do you share your gratitude with others?

2. Spend time each day in NATURE
Life=Nature. As we move through our busy lives we forget the beauty and peace that flows in nature. Nature provides us with a template for living. No storm lasts forever. There is calm before and after the storm. Animals use their instincts to live. They trust themselves. On this journey, spend time in nature. Embrace the wonder and splendor that unfolds in observing the trees, the sky, and the moon. Admire the delicate balance that occurs between the water, the grass, the flowers and the sun, each supporting the other to flourish. As you hurry back and forth to appointments and the hospital, pause for a few moments and breathe in life. Indulge yourself in the warmth from the sun or the cool of a breeze.

“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” -Emil Brunner
How can you bring nature into your daily life?
How do you feel when you allow yourself to be free in nature?

3. Spend time each day in SHARING
The definition of the word share: to divide between two people, to use together, to take part. By virtue of sharing, you are not alone. Sharing creates a space for bonding, love and peace to flow. It provides for caring and support to show up in all sorts of amazing ways. What brought you to this NICU journey was a sharing of love between two people. Pregnancy is sharing of a nurturing connection between mother and baby. Sharing is non-judgmental. It may be in the form of storytelling of experiences providing a sacred space for support. Tap into your creative side and share through crafts such as knitting, sewing, photography, and other activities that allow you to express yourself in ways you enjoy.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
What are your favorite ways to share?
How does sharing support you and others?

4. Spend time each day in NOURISHMENT
Human beings are mind, body, and soul, each part requiring nourishment to sustain life. When we are on the run, with many places to go, self-care often takes a back seat. We forget to eat healthy, get enough rest and remain in contact with our inner spirit. Our bodies are great at reminding us when we need to slow down and practice self-care. Self-care comes in the form of a healthy diet, rest, and exercise according to your abilities. It is during stressful times that it is most important to nourish all parts of ourselves. Nourishment refreshes us, rejuvenates us, and allows our best self to shine and reconnect to peace.
Schedule time each day to plan for meals, take a walk, or read an inspirational quote.

“We live by admiration, hope, and love.” -William Wordsworth
What are your ways to achieve self-care?
How do you continue to support your spiritual needs?

5. Spend time each day in SILENCE
Why do we give children time-outs? It removes them from the noise, activity, and distraction so they may regain their composure in the silence. Silence is a precious time of reconnecting your heart and mind. In silence you remember who you really are and move away from the noise of stressful living. In just a few minutes a day calm seeps in, peace triumphs, and you feel refreshed. Silence means disconnecting from cell phones, computers and emails. It means turning off the television, iPods, and other technology we are blessed to have. Silence means creating a sacred place. It may be a time for meditation, prayer, or reflection. It may be in nature, a church, a hospital chapel, or a quiet room. As you practice silence, you learn to connect to it in the midst of all the noise.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen
How can you create a sacred space for yourself?
What inspiration is now available in the silence?

Author's Bio: 

A physician, certified professional life coach, and founder of Postpartum Neonatal Coaching.com, Dr. Stephanie Wellington offers speaking, workshops, and coaching programs for prenatal and postpartum families, and lectures on staff development for NICU teams. The coaching programs are uniquely designed to support and inspire parents as they transition home with their new baby or as they cope with the separation from their newborn who remains hospitalized in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Dr. Wellington invites you to visit www.postpartumneonatalcoaching.com to sign up for Embrace Life newsletter.