I feel guilty...
Guilty for that one glass of wine I drank before I knew I was pregnant.
Guilty for the time I cried when the Dr. told me I was having twins when one baby seemed like a lot more.
Guilty for the one or two loads of laundry I did after the Dr. told me to be on bed rest.
Guilty for being the source of everyone's sadness when we told them there were no babies coming.
Guilty that my husband had to choose the burial plot and pick out a casket because I was numb.
Guilty that I wasn't showing up as the mother I wanted to be to my boys because I was swallowed in grief.
Guilty every time I laughed that I was somehow being disloyal to my baby.
Guilty that I can't be happy for my friend when she announces her pregnancy.
Guilt is a major player when it comes to pregnancy loss. It shows up in so many different ways that it may be one of the hardest things to deal with. We often blame ourselves and our bodies for failing to properly carry our babies to a healthy entry into this world, and the guilt for what we might have done differently, or better consumes us. I believe that the safest, most nurturing place a baby can be is in the womb and biology is quite forgiving of that cocktail or two we drank or the little extra things we did out of habit that maybe we weren't "supposed" to do.
It showed up for me again during the days of my loss. I was induced for three days with no results so it ended in a C-section late on the third day. It wasn't what anyone wanted but I knew I had to do what it took to get the initial nightmare over and return home to try to put myself back together somewhat to mother my other two children. I hated that my family was waiting around for it t finally be over, I hated that my husband had to try to be everything for everyone in the midst of his own grief, and I felt guilty that the surgery team came in late at night to do what was certainly not a rewarding, happy occasion.
The guilt continued when I got the news that my friend was pregnant and I wasn't truly happy for her partly because I was jealous, and partly because I thought she was being too presumptuous to assume she would give birth to a full-term healthy baby since that scenario is forever tainted for me.
If I had only given myself the grace and compassion I needed I would have realized:
My body was the perfect vessel to carry my babies as long as it did
God has a sense of humor and why not 2 babies instead of one?
My babies were so very loved before they were born by everyone including the medical team who made an awful, out-of-body experience as gentle and kind as it could be as they cried right along with me.
I am so blessed to have the love of a man who would put aside his own pain in order to serve my needs at the time.
My kids were happy to have their mother there in any form and were an integral part of my healing by forcing me to get out of bed and pretend life was normal at least from their perspective.
My friend was terrified to tell me she was pregnant for fear of upsetting me.
I was too wrapped up in my own pain that I didn't stop to consider how the other people in my situation felt. As time went on I realized that this experience has actually given me some gifts. The gift of being grateful for the children I did have and desire to be an amazing mother. The gift of appreciating my body for all it has gone through and its strength. The gift of knowing I was never alone in my journey because my husband shared it with me (although his journey is different), and the gift of being a compassionate, kind friend to those who went on after me to have healthy babies or more important needed my understanding in their own experience of loss.
In my coaching practice, one of the most effective modalities I use is visioning. Visioning what could have happened differently and what the result might have been, what the baby would be thinking if they could tell you what they're seeing, and my favorite is handing them off in heaven (or another destination lined up with your beliefs) to another loved one to care for until you are reunited again.
If there is any chance you can relieve yourself of the guilt you are feeling and start to see the beautiful parts of what comes from your loss then you are truly honoring your baby. They are here for a brief time to teach us some very big, valuable lessons and by staying bitter we waste that gift from them. Allow yourself some compassion to see what bright spots might be around you even when it truly feels like you are drowning. Your sweet baby wants you to have an amazing life so live it out fully without shame, without bitterness and regret, and definitely without guilt.
If you want to learn more about how I can help or would like a free e-book "10 Questions You Ask Yourself When You Lose Your Baby" click the links below.