Friday, May 21, 2010

Guilt vs. Failure

I was out with my friend the other day and we were talking about my pregnancy and Aidan. I love this friend. She is easy to be with. She listens. She does not say things that hurt. She is able to be with me in my sorrow.

When we got on the subject of guilt she asked me "Do you feel guilty?"

Then she said "You know it wasn't your fault right? You do know that, right?"

And I answered her honestly. No. I don't feel guilty.

I really don't. I didn't cause whatever happened or failed to happen in my uterus. I had sex with my husband and a few weeks later, ta da, I was pregnant. That is about as far as my guilt goes. I did not cause the bleeding, I did not cause the placenta to develop abnormally, I did not cause my amniotic sac to break (if in fact it did...still not sure on that one).

Guilt implies control. I did not have control. If I did, I would have a 27 week + 5 day fetus developing healthy and normally in my belly right now. Trust me...I did not have control.

What helps to assuage me of any feelings of guilt, is that I took care of myself. I got pre-pregnancy counselling with a cardiologist. I ensured my medications were fine to continue while pregnant. I didn't drink. I didn't smoke. I took prenatal vitamins. I was at a healthy weight both before and during my pregnancy. I ate well. I sought health care (probably some of the best in the country), both for normal pregnancy reasons, and for the on-going disasters that continued to crop up during my pregnancy (bleeding, MORE bleeding). I went on bed rest when it was deemed the 'only treatment that might work'. I got good sleep. I drank water until the COWS came home in the last weeks of my pregnancy in hopes it would provide increased amniotic fluid for Aidan. I thought good thoughts for him, even while trying to be realistic. I did my best.

None of this however, keeps me from feeling like a failure. I failed. It was like having a healthy baby was a big test. The biggest test ever. I did my homework. I took notes. I asked questions. I studied. I was prepared. I did my best. Everyone knows it. Everyone agrees that I tried. But, I still got an F. I did not pass. The baby that my husband and I wanted and dreamed of and loved so much, still died.

So no...I do not feel guilt, and for that I am thankful.

But do I feel failure?

Yes...oh yes.


  1. I did everything right, and I still get overwhelmed with guilt at times. A failure, most of the time.

    People I know did everything wrong, and still had healthy babies.

    I realise I'm not entirely rational there.

    I'm so sorry you lost Aidan. I wish he was still safe and sound where he was supposed to be.

  2. i so totally relate to this. i don't feel guilt, but i do feel doubt and regret for what i did in the moments immediately following my water breaking. what it comes down to is that i didn't know, and most likely it wouldn't have made a difference, but i sometimes feel responsible. i was kenny's mother and it was my job to bring him safely into the world and i couldn't do it.