One area so many mothers struggle with is guilt, especially those who experience the loss of a baby/child. We want to address this struggle in this post. It will help mothers quietly battling guilt for living life and experiencing joy to know they are not alone. Other moms silently battle this as well. Whether it is the startling first time you really laugh after losing your child, or whether you have experienced the healing balm of joy for years, share your thoughts on this week’s post.
Guilt. It's become a close friend after losing Caleb. Thanks to the grace of God I really do not struggle with this as much as I could. God gave me so many small mercies with Caleb's death. I think one of them was the doctors appointment we had the night before he died. Nothing wipes the guilt away from my heart as much as remembering that appointment and hearing the doctor say "everything looks great, see you next week or earlier if you go into labor!" I mean if they couldnt find anything wrong, and they are professionals, then how could I? Also, there were so few signs, if any. He had hiccups that night, but that was not uncommon. I think if I showed up in labor and delivery saying my baby had hiccups they would have laughed and sent me home. Really, it all appeared fine and then in a few short hours it wasn't.
I did struggle with the guilt that my body didn't tell me at all, that my instincts did nothing. I wrestled for a long time with the thought "what kind of mother stands by and does nothing while her child dies?" I felt profound peace when I brought this question to Mary in prayer. She answered "I do. I am the kind of mother that stands by while my son dies because it was God's will." That gave me peace and took almost all the guilt away. I mean if God had wanted me to do something or Caleb to be saved, perhaps he would have given me more knowledge about the situation. But he didn't and that's the truth. I did the best with the knowledge I had and in the end it still wasn't enough to save him and Im ok with that. I truly feel like I gave Caleb the best shot at life and there is nothing more I could have done.
One area that pops in and out from time to time is the guilt over not dressing him for the casket. It was all such a blur at the time and the funeral home said they had something to put the babies in. It still makes me sick to my stomach that I have no idea what he is buried in. I mean we have a whole attic with tubs and tubs of boy clothes for him and we didnt think to give him one outfit to be buried in? It seems strange to me that we could have overlooked that one huge detail. But we did. I have guilt that I didn't dress him and can never get that back.
As the months turn into years since he has been gone I struggle with the guilt of moving on. Of forgetting him, not memorializing him properly. Guilt that somehow this tragic story is part of Abigail's now. That she will have to go to school one day and when asked if she has siblings she will say "one in Heaven," and get those weird looks. Guilt. It will always be lurking. I will always feel guilty that I could not bring my baby boy into this world alive. But then I remember that I am not the Lord of life and death-that God is, and that puts the guilt right back where it should be-not on my shoulders.