Thursday, March 18, 2010


In talking with my mother tonight, more about my brother's current marital woes than anything, we got to talking about S and his early entrance into this world. I have no idea how we went from one extreme to another, but I rolled with it.

In a nutshell, I told my mother that I still have problems with S's early birth. I still feel responsible and I still drag out pictures of his NICU days. I admitted to her, and in some ways finally, out loud, to myself, that I do it because I feel the need to punish myself. I told her that I *know* it wasn't anything I did or anything S did. My mind tells me that. But, my heart and soul cannot seem to grasp that. I am his Mommy, the one he runs to when hurt or when he just wants to gibber jabber about his day at school. And yet, his Mommy could not keep him safe and sound in me, where he NEEDED to be for 15 weeks more than where he was born at.

"No No!", my mind screams at me. "Something went wrong, something was faulty, it was time for him to come out and in doing so, teach you some sort of lesson. He's coming early because he's going to teach you something."

And my heart and soul say back, "Yeah, something went wrong all right and something is faulty. Mainly me, everything I have done has been faulty. I should have done this..I maybe shouldn't have done that."

My heart and soul and mind are always arguing over this subject, it seems. Even 5 years later.

I'll pull out the photo album, and I'll cry over it. J will normally just get up and walk away. He doesn't like to look at those pictures. Obviously, he knows what good for him. Me? I'm just a glutton for punishment.

Punishment. Was it a punishment that he was born? In a ways, yes. I made him go through everything. I made him fight for his life. I made him endure procedure after procedure. Stick after stick of needles. IV's, medications, X-rays, eye surgery. I did it all to him!

I know that S was one of the lucky ones. He didn't have an extended period on the vent like most 25 weekers. He didn't need heart surgery, and so far, he is A-OK in the mental and physical department. He is my miracle child. He IS here for a reason.

So, why can't my heart and soul let go? Why can't I stop blaming myself? Why do I always get emotional even when I watch TV and see NICU babies, or a show that has a preemie or even a former preemie on it? Do I really want to bear this the rest of my life? Do I really want to continue to wallow in the fact that I was this awful Mom who did something that made her baby come 15 weeks early? Will talking to someone really help? Probably not. It is something that is etched in my soul, it changed me, it changed my outlook on life as I knew it.

Damn, maybe I am a glutton.

1 Comment:

  1. carrie said...
    I'm glad you admitted it out loud to your mom and yourself.

    Going through what you did definitely causes some post-traumatic stress and it takes time to deal with that. A doctor actually told Neal that he's dealing with PTSD from his Navy days and that they've noticed that it usually takes at least 5 years to cope with it. (Oddly enough, it took me almost exactly 5 years to start feeling more normal again after Richard died.)

    Honestly, whether it was something you did or not doesn't really matter. (Though I think not...) It happened, he lived and is fine... The guilt you feel will probably always be there on some level. Obviously you feel like you did something that caused it but whether that was the case or not, you have to forgive yourself at some point, accept what happened and move on.

    Notice I said "at some point." One of my favorite quotes about grief is "Like the memory of our loved ones, grief will never disappear. We just grow stronger to support the weight of it."

    I definitely think talking to someone could help, but ultimately it's up to you to learn to accept it and forgive yourself for what you perceive as your fault.


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