We found this research paper from the Journal of Perinatal Education showing the importance of an encouraging environment for parents with children in the NICU. The authors looked at 14 studies from 1998-2008 and found that parents experienced stress, sadness, lack of control, and change of mindset between hope and hopelessness.
Fortunately, many of these feelings were reduced dramatically after mothers were able to see their child, and that he or she was not in pain. Finally, the article illustrates the importance of parent-nurse communication in the reduction of anxiety and fear that parents experience when their children are in the NICU. For more information, the full article is available here.