NICU has made me afraid to have children...


This is going to sound crazy and shallow and aweful, but working in the nicu as an RN has made me afraid to have children of my own. I need to know if this is normal or if I am really insane. I love the babies at work and I am excellent at my job going above and beyond to meet their needs and help the families but I wouldn't be able to handle that life full time 24/7 for the rest of my life. I know we see the worst case scenario and most pregnancies/deliveries go well and everything is fine but even just the chance it could be not fine is too much. It is to the point where both my boyfriend and are talking about either not having kids at all or just adopting.


181 Posts

Hi There, I understand that it must be very challenging to look after babies that are very ill and dependent. There is always misfortune and sadly children and babies can die. Life is not fair and can be cruel. However with advances in medicine and technology there is more hope than what there was before and miracles can happen.

Its very easy to be consumed by negative situations because we are human and subject to emotions. Babies are a wonderful creation of God and you may possibly be depriving yourself out of a lovely opportunity to have your own baby. You have to try to not let it affect you or put you off.

If you really decide that fear holds you back then nobody will judge you. In fact there are thousands of children that need a loving home and would be honoured to have you as a foster mother. You would also be giving something back to society too but please think more about this.

You do only have one life and babies are wonderful works of Gods creation.

If for example you do decide to have a baby and it goes ahead, then perhaps change units or work on a paediatric ward. The NICU is a highly emotionally charged place. Any unit is but I think NICU moreso so it may be worth transferring or changing departments.

Specializes in Pediatric/Adolescent, Med-Surg.

When I worked peds I worked with many co-workers that loved kids, but did not want their own. Several were worried about the risk of having a medically complex child. One of my co-workers had an unexpected pregnancy and was not excited but nervously hopeful that everything would be ok, now her child is a healthy toddler and she has a healthy second child to boot.

Sometimes we need to remember that what we see in peds is worst case scenario day after day. You can also get genetic testing done if you want to know your risk

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Maybe it is not the "fearful" nurses who are "crazy" and need to change. Maybe it's all the people who rush blindly into baby-making without giving the possible complications a second thought who be wise to change their attitudes.

If you fears are beyond the realm of "normal" compared to other NICU/peds nurses, then perhaps you should get some counseling before making a final decision about your life. But personally, I think a little caution is a good thing before you create a new life.


22 Posts

working in the NICU absolutely makes the thought of pregnancy terrifying. When high-risk blurs to become your version of normal, it is hard to remember that has become your perspective. I worked as a NICU nurse for several years before having our own children.

It was surreal to take care of a 25weeker when I was the same gestational age. I was convinced if I made it to term there would at the very least be a massive heart defect. You are not shallow. It is responsible for you to consider motherhood and the unconditional love that comes with it. It seems you fully grasp the struggles you've witnessed babies and parents go through. If you are having enough doubts to pause, then pause it is. The clock won't unwind once you jump on the mommy bandwagon. Take a trip to "normal newborn" nursery if you have one in your hospital. That seems so weird- babies demanding their own food, not hooked up to wires;) Simply miraculous most are born that way! Adopt or not, parenthood isn't smooth sailing after a great delivery. I think what runs in your mind is typical for any childbearing NICU nurse.