When I had my first child I thought I had done my homework like so many first time moms. I read all the healthy pregnancy books, first year baby books. I had the aps that told me what fruit or vegetable my little munchkin was the size of each week.
Then reality hit. I had a baby screaming in my arms and realized that I hadn’t ever changed a diaper much less held a child so small and been expected to keep it alive. What the hospital and all the books failed to really tell me about that was in addition to my baby I was leaving the hospital with a big welcome to motherhood bag of guilt.
Guilt over reanalyzing every choice made for your child. Guilt that I used the TV as a baby-sitter, disposable diapers, daycare choices and being a working mom.
I thought I had figured out how to let it go with my second pregnancy. I had come to the realization that we are not the always clean house put together family. Accepted that my child will probably eat more fast-food, watch more TV than maybe on my ideal wish list.
What I was not prepared for was not taking my child home and the guilt that followed. This guilt is a different monster. It is filled with questions like “If Only…”
“You failed to keep your baby alive”
“I had one job.”
“Why did I survive?”
“You failed your child.”
There’s enough guilt that we put on ourselves that we have to work though. If I can give any advise to those supporting those in grief. It’s lay off any guilt trips. Believe me we have enough of one going on within ourselves.
I need to hear from my husband and other moms that “You did not fail! Not even a little!”
I know that I cannot always be an attentive mom to both my child in heaven and the one here on Earth at the same time. There is always one that is being neglected. It’s a balancing act that has no permanent solution.
The best that I can do is to let go of those questions. I am the best mother that I can be at this time.
I have to let go of thinking my thoughts were so powerful that they wished for any of this. I have made the right decisions for my family.
The only question left is “Am I choosing to forgive myself today and let go?”