Quote from nursepearl
dawngloves, I think what you said about teens mothers is very inappropriate. I was a teenage mother and I know there are many others here who were also. I took great offense in what you said.....teen mothers are not bad mothers....there are MANY women who are bad mothers and who are just as "clueless"!
I'm not dawngloves, but I understand where she's coming from. I think having a normal newborn baby as a teen is a little different than having one sick in the NICU. It's a different kind of stress, and I agree that 3 out of 4 teen moms I see are very immature about their sick newborns. I think it's just a lot to deal with, being a teen mom, without having to throw in the added stress of the baby being critically ill. Many teenagers aren't ready for this kind of extreme emotional stress, and they handle it a little differently than older mothers. Honestly, most adults aren't ready for that kind of stress! Yes, mothers of ANY age can be immature or clueless, that is for darn sure! But most NICU nurses deal with teen moms on a regular basis, and it's often just a different ball game. Their babies will be at 100% oxygen on the oscillator and 20mcg of dop/dob, and they're upset because we won't dress the babies in doll clothes they brought. This and similar things have happened to me more times than I care to remember! I think the biggest difference between having a normal newborn and a NICU baby is that you don't have to start taking care of the sick baby right away. A normal baby is that teen mom's responsibility from day one, and she must quickly become responsible and adapt to her new role as a mother. But in the NICU, they might only be able to visit the baby in for an hour or two a day, and they sometimes treat it like playtime. They are able to go back to school, back to their normal lives. They don't have to DO anything with this baby yet. It's not REAL yet. It's very different than having that baby with them 24/7 from the get-go.
Yes, this might be true of parents at ANY age. But if you spend any time in the NICU, you'll see major differences in the way a teen parent and an older one deals with the situation. It's just too much stress to deal with before adulthood, and just way too much information to handle at times. I wouldn't wish a NICU baby on anyone, least of all a teenager. It's hard enough on an adult.
Please don't flame me, I'm only going on my experience and that of my coworkers.