Skip to main content

One of the only certainties about having children is uncertainty: we can’t find out beforehand how a pregnancy or birth experience will go, or who our children will grow up and become. Add in a premature birth, an illness diagnosis, and a NICU stay to the mix, and it can lead to overwhelming worry and anxiety.

My guest today, Meg Helgeson, is certainly no stranger to this. Her twin girls Ellie and Leah, who are now healthy 12-year-old girls, had to be flown to the NICU at Comer’s Children Hospital at only 5 days old to receive a meningitis diagnosis.

Looking back, Meg is now able to share her advice for parents going through similar situations: from the nerves of discovering you are having twins, to the heart-wrenching experience of caring for them in the NICU. She shares helpful tips on allowing others to be there for you, remembering to care for yourself, managing expectations, and dealing with overstimulation.

If you’re a “recovering perfectionist” trying to balance that with the beautiful chaos of parenthood, then this episode has some goodies for you.

Key Takeaways with Meg Helgeson

  • The highs and lows of finding out you’re having twins
  • Setting healthy boundaries throughout pregnancy
  • Managing and grieving pregnancy & birth expectations
  • The importance of accepting help from friends and loved ones
  • Taking care of yourself through the NICU journey
  • Accepting that it is normal not to know everything
  • Avoiding comparison in the NICU
  • Treating siblings (especially twins) as separate individuals
  • How nursery nurses make the experience less daunting
  • Celebrating non-traditional milestones to help find joy
  • Dealing with overstimulation around small children
  • Letting go of perfectionism
  • Giving yourself “second chances” to get things right

Meg Helgeson Tweetables

  • “Expectations do no good but to create more anxiety of what could possibly go wrong. Try to minimize the expectations of how you think it’s supposed to go vs how it is actually going.” — Meg Helgeson
  • “No matter what kind of journey you’re on, you are living day to day. Where you are isn’t where you’re going to stay; none of us stay the same every day.” — Meg Helgeson
  • “You can’t take care of your sick babies or kids if you’re not taking care of yourself.” — Meg Helgeson
  • “Nursery nurses know that milestones may look different because your child needed medical attention, and that’s where joy is found. It didn’t go like you thought it would, but you can still celebrate.” — Jamie Freedlund


Rate & Review

If you enjoyed today’s episode of The Joy In The Journey, hit the subscribe button on Apple Podcasts, Spotify , Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or wherever you listen, so future episodes are automatically downloaded directly to your device.

You can also help by providing an honest rating & review over on Apple Podcasts. Reviews go a long way in helping us build awareness so that we can impact even more people. THANK YOU!