The Pajama Pants that Changed my Heart

Our first son was born seven and a half weeks early and went straight from the OR to the NICU, where he stayed for 31 days.

My husband visited for a couple hours each evening after work, as he was saving his vacation time for when we were able to bring our son home.

I had the gift of having medical leave from my job, so once I was discharged from the hospital, I was able to spend all day, every day in the NICU.

When you’re in the NICU, you spend almost all of your time sitting bedside, holding, feeding, and helping the nurses care for your baby, so it’s definitely helpful if you can be dressed comfortably. For several days straight, I wore a t-shirt, yoga pants, and flip-flops.

One morning, however, I looked in my closet and saw I was completely out of my maternity yoga pants. They were all in our laundry basket that hadn’t been addressed in almost two weeks. I just had a baby so I found the one other thing that both fit and was comfortable… Christmas pajama pants.

I didn’t think anything of it as it was early in the morning so the hospital would be quiet. I would scurry up to the NICU and by the time I left, it would be dark outside, and again, very quiet.

When I got inside the hospital, I took a quick detour to the cafeteria so I could fill my water bottles. After I finished at the waterspout, I turned around and was face-to-face with a man. He looked me up and down, gave his eyes a quick roll, and said very sarcastically, “I just LOVE it when people wear their pajamas in public.”

In a very even tone, I replied, “I just had a baby and he was born prematurely, and I’m about to go spend the day with him in the NICU, so if it’s okay with you, I’d like to wear comfortable clothes while I sit with him.”

His face immediately changed to an, oh crap, expression, and he said, “Congratulations! I hope he’s doing well and gets out of there soon!”

I said, “He weighs three pounds,” and walked away.

It was a classic case of judging someone by their appearance without knowing the full story.

Something I had done countless times myself.

Since that moment, I am truly changed.

I still periodically catch myself making a judgment in my head about something I’m seeing, but now, I immediately remember that whatever I’m observing, I don’t know the whole story. I don’t know why someone looks the way they look or is behaving the way they’re behaving, and I pray my heart gives them grace.

I did it just today, actually. At the grocery store, I saw a little girl around the age of five lying down in the top part of her mom’s shopping cart, with her legs hanging over one side, a balled up blanket under her head, and she was sucking her thumb.

I’m embarrassed to admit my very first thought was that the little girl was way to old to be lying down in a shopping cart with her thumb in her mouth. But, I immediately remembered that I don’t know what her situation is. I don’t know if she has special needs, or if she is sick, or if she’s going through a difficult situation and she just needed to lie down while her mom shops.

Or maybe it’s none of those things. Either way, I don’t know the whole story, so I choose to give them grace.

Just like the grace I needed when I wore the Christmas pajama pants that changed my heart.

The Pajama Pants that Changed my Heart

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