This past Thursday was a huge success. As the Creative Writing teacher at my school, I hosted a school-wide poetry slam, and I couldn't have asked for a program to run more smoothly. The talent of the students was unparalleled. The spirit in the room was electric and inspiring yet lingering beneath the surface of my smile lurked an ugly monster named "guilt". Nine years ago I was VERY pregnant as I organized the school-wide poetry slam. Of course, at that poetry slam, I was rushing around as usual. (I simply love being busy and making a difference.) I had to make sure the poetry slam programs were made, that the decorations were ready, that the students were ready, and more. I did all of this while being six months pregnant. On that night, I could feel my son Cade, moving a lot and then moving very little but sometimes Cade would move very little, so I thought nothing was any different. I had already named my baby boy, "Cade" and couldn't wait for him to make his grand entrance into this world. That night after the poetry slam, I was "dog tired". My feet ache, my back hurt, and I just had to go to bed. I was especially ready to go to bed, so I could awaken, go the doctor for my ultrasound, and see my baby once more.
However, at the ultrasound, the outcome was not what I expected. That day I heard the doctor utter the words, "Your baby is dead". My baby wasn't moving on the ultrasound. I couldn't believe the words uttered from my doctor's mouth. My cries and yells were so loud that the entire doctor's office heard them. In a matter of minutes, my husband and I had tough decisons to make. I had to deliver my now dead baby either that night or the next day. I had to somehow go on. WE had to somehow go on. But, all I felt was guilt. The guilt replayed over and over in my mind. I thought about how I should have sat still. I thought back to the night before at the poetry slam. Why did I do so much in those months? Why did I not know what had to have been going on in my body? I shared with my sister the guilt that simply would not go away. The guilt made me want to die, so I could be with my baby in heaven. I mean, how could I go on? However, I remember the words of my sister. She said, "There is nothing you did. Mothers work in fields. Mothers do hard labor. Many pregnant teenage mothers-to-be go to parties, and do God knows what. And, their babies are fine. This was just God's will." It was a bitter pill to swallow--that I had no control over what happened.
And every year is hard as I host the poetry slam, like this past Thursday. My mind thinks back to guilt I felt, and the guilt still tries to creep in.
So, every year I have to use coping mechanisms to help me through the guilt that plagues me.
However, I offer every mother (or father) who deals with guilt three tips:
1-Speak positive affirmations. Biblical scriptures helped me greatly (and still do). I posted these the following scriptures as well as others in my house on my mirror whenever guilt tried to creep in. I learned removing guilt had to be a conscious act. It wasn't going to happen magically:
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.
5 As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb[a] of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.
2-Write in a journal any and everything you're feeling. It is helpful to get these emotions out.
3- Go to a therapy group or to a therapist. Don't be afraid to go talk to a professional! (I did!) In your area or surrounding area are local hospitals to assist with parents who have lost a child.
Please respond to this blog to let me know if any of these tips help. I hope they do. They have helped me. Also, share if any other methods which have helped you with guilt.
Bless Your Soul,