Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Epic fail

i have been struggling lately with feelings of failure. i feel like i'm a failure of a mother, like i failed Juju, like i failed our family. and because of my failure, my baby paid the ultimate price. now i know that having a live baby does not a "successful" mother make and vice versa. and if i were to read this in any of my fellow BLMs blogs, or hear any of my IRL friends say this, i wouldn't hesitate to jump in and tell them that they did NOT fail as a mother, that they are amazing mothers. but i just can't seem to hold myself to the same standard. funny how that happens. i guess the saying is true - we are our own worse critics.

my mind and heart are in constant battle with each other. my heart knows without a doubt, that i gave Julius more than all of the love i had to give. my heart knows that i cherished every moment with him, and that i would give my very life for him. but my mind....well, my mind tells me that i should have been there for him. as his mother, i should have saved him. as his mother, there had to have been more that i could have done to change the course of events that ultimately lead to my son losing his life and me being left, as brooke so eloquently put it, in this wizard of oz grayed-out world of constant sadness.

guilt has always been a strong part of my internal makeup. i can pretty much guilt myself into/out of practically everything {i used to joke that it is because i'm catholic. and if you're catholic and reading this, please don't take offense}. so it was absolutely no shock when i went "there" blaming myself immediately upon hearing the news that Julius had passed away. the overwhelming guilt has lessen quite a bit since reading the book The SIDS & Infant Death Survival Guide, which opened my eyes to the fact that SIDS is unpreventable. but it in no way completely removed the guilt from my mind. and every once in a while, it creeps back up to the surface and takes hold of me. it's as though most of the time it has me by the ankle, and every so often it manages to climb it's way up and grab me by the throat. and recently it's been around my throat.

i know i will never completely stop blaming myself, that i will always play out those "what-ifs" in my head. i know i will never fully dispel the thoughts that, unfortunately, my inadequacies as a mother cost Julius the one thing he deserves the most - his life. but i hope that he knows that despite all of that, i loved him {and continue to love him} more intensely than i have EVER loved another person in all of my life. that his mere existence gave way to a love within me that i never knew possible. it's almost as if there was a secret room of love that only he unlocked. and even though he is gone from this earth, that room can't be closed up, in fact that room grows more and more every day and is filled with love for him. ♥

**updated to include a great, in-depth article that talks about parental grief. it even has a section specifically for the grief of SIDS parents, which ressonated with me, especially in light of what i have been feeling lately. one paragraph that stuck out in particular was:
SIDS parents also are very often plagued by "if only's" that they are never able to resolve. They mentally replay such thoughts as: "If only I hadn't put the child down for a nap when I did." "If only I had checked on the baby sooner." "If only I had not returned to work so soon." "If only I had taken the baby to the doctor with that slight cold."
it brings me some comfort to know that this seems to be a normal feeling.**

22 comments:

Tanashia said...

Big hug!

Lisa said...

I'm sad u feel this way.for what its worth I think u are an amazing mother, so many children should be so lucky to have a mom as wonderful as you. Xoxo

My New Normal said...

I'm now going to tell you what you would tell others. It isn't your fault. You did not fail as a mother. You are an amazing mother.

You should listen to me because I know what I'm talking about. : )

Our Journey said...

You are a great mommy! I know the feelings of guilt because when we first lost Eden, I blamed myself all the time. It has gotten better, but blame still surfaces from time to time.
Your son is so proud of you and the work you are doing in his memory. I love you and I am saying extra prayers for you today. I pray that God showers you with His grace a little more today!

Mary said...

I love the part about the secret room of love. I didn't understand love until I had children. And Gage's room of love will never change. You are such a good mommy, doing all of this good work in your son's name. He knows how much you love him...I promise!

Deanna said...

there are days where it's hard not to wonder. wonder what could have been done differently, how we could have saved our babies. I know that guilt you are talking about, I think more times than not, that I am River's mother and I should have saved him, there should have been something I could have done!
generally, I have to remind myself, much like you, that I did everything I could and should have. Feeling guilty and being miserable about failing River is not going to bring him back. I usually have to turn all of that energy into working on his legacy. Then I feel better and that I am doing what I can, and that is to help others. You are an amazing mother, your photographs at the top of your blog shows that you made Julius a very happy baby while he was on Earth with you. Know that we are all here, and we do understand. We also will never forget your sweet baby boy. My thoughts and prayers are with you!!

Tiffany said...

oh tiffany... this just brought me to tears. Just as you said in your post, I want to tell you all of the obvious things, that you ARE a wonderful mother and didnt fail him but I know that hearing that doesnt help in this stage of grief.... I know this personally. I dont care if the Pope told me the most encouraging words on the face of the earth... I didnt believe it nor did I want to hear it. So this is what I will tell you mama... I hurt for you, I hurt so very much. I think of precious Juju all. the. time. He will never be forgotten by me. I am here for you no matter what (I wish I were closer). Im here for the wonderfully good days and I am here for the horribly bad days, and everything else in between. I pray for you and your family mama. And I am sending you love and peace. XXXX

Megan said...

We never will... it's just another thing we have to live with on our hearts.... :(

Rachel said...

My heart breaks for you. It breaks because I wish there was something I could do or say to take all of this pain away. You are an amazing woman and mother! I pray everyday this guilt will subside and I pray a sweet peace will come to you. Love~

Summer {Bisfor...} said...

just found you and i am sending you love. your story is inspiring. i have had a lot of recent loss in my life and i won't begin to compare it to yours but know that i am now praying hard for your hearts to heal.

Angie said...

I'm not going to sit here and tell you 'it's not your fault' I know from my own thick-headedness that it won't change a damn thing. But, I will tell you how loved and supported you are by the dozens of us who sit hiding behind our computers. I'm always laughing and crying along with you, and nodding my head at your words, because I feel the sames ways you do.

sending you my love and support from a thousand miles away xo

Lindsay said...

I grappled (still grapple) with those exact same feelings. I still utter the "if onlys" to myself...every day. 17 months later, and I still wonder and question and blame myself. My big one is, "If only I hadn't taught him to roll over." That one hits me like a punch in my gut.

Sending big, big hugs your way. You're an awesome mommy.

MELISSA said...

It pains me to hear that you feel this way. I am so sorry that you are suffering with these feelings of guilt.I know that no one can say anything to convince you otherwise, but I have no doubts that you were one of the most attentive mothers out there and Julius knew/knows it. I hope that with time these feelings dissipate somewhat.

MrsH said...

I think it is hard to admit that you are powerless in the face of important events, like SIDS. It is almost easier to say I could have done something, than to admit that you had no power in it at all. This not being able to influence anything, this helplesness, it is harder than guilt. I hope you choose to let go of the guilt, although it is a gradual process, so don't do it all at once.
hugs to you. You love your baby very much, that is so obvious.

Angie said...

I think that any parent who has lost a baby can find something to feel guilty about. I definitely still feel guilty that my body didn't work right the first time, it was my body that ultimately caused Olivia to die. It took a long time- 6+ months- for me not to feel guilty and even angry that I was still alive, and it kind of just got to the point where I had to let it go. It hasn't magically disappeared but I'm in a better place where I can kind of accept that it's not something I caused or could have prevented and dwelling on guilt isn't helping anyone. But, it's hard and it takes time.
Be gentle with yourself. Big hugs to you.

rebecca said...

As so many others today have told you, you my friend are an amazing mother to Julius! You continue to inspire me on a daily basis by reaching out to help others in the midst of your own grief. I hope you begin to feel that same sense of love you have for Julius reflected back to you through all of us who love you and are so thankful to have you in our lives. Be gentle with yourself...<3 you ((hugs))

Rhiannon said...

As so many others have said, you were and continue to be a wonderful mother to your Julius. I still struggle with the guilt that my body failed me and I should have known it was going to happen and somehow prevented it. Deep down I know, as you do, that I would have done *anything* to protect Harper and keep her with me. Unfortunately, things aren't always in our control...I have had *alot* of trouble accepting this and still do. Please know that you are not alone in your thoughts. We all struggle with these feelings and probably always will. You are an inspiration and such a beautiful testament to Julius.

Tiffany said...

Tiffany: I know exactly how you feel. I think guilt is something we will always carry with us. I constantly think that I should have known there was something wrong with Ellie. I should have saved her. When we had Ellie's death review (yes it makes me sick to type those words), our doctor was very kind and insightful. He told me that I would feel guilty if Ellie was out in the yard on a pretty sunny day and got struck by lightning. He said thats what mom's do. They love their babies so much and it's such an indescribable and powerful love that we can't help but feel guilty. We feel guilt because we are mothers. Nothing and no one can talk us out of it.
That being said, I see how much you loved Julius and if love could have saved our babies they would still be here.
Thinking of you and handsome little Julius. And just so you know, the picture you have on your button is so cute. His little smile makes me smile. I'm sure that he is up there flashing it at Ellie and batting his eyes. And I'm sure Ellie is doing the exact same thing back.

brigette said...

Im so sorry!! It seems that our brains like to struggle and keep us always wondering... its hard Im so sorry. You are a great mom just from reading your blog I know this im sure you did all you could and more! Much love!

Brooke said...

Tiffany, I think the guilt you feel is one more example of what an amazing mother you are to Julius. We all know--and Julius must know too--that if there were anything that could have been done to save him, you would have done it. Without blinking, without thinking, without pausing for an instant. His loss is a terrible, terrible tragedy (in part because the world needs babies with cheeks so kissable), but you can't blame yourself. You are continuing to make his life meaningful and that is such an amazing gift.

Brooke said...

There is no way for me to sufficiently encourage you, but I will try. It is OBVIOUS to me in the time I have read your blog that you are a LOVING, INCREDIBLE, CARING mother! Although your feelings of doubt and hurt are so vaild, I want you to know that you were the BEST MOM to Julius! I know that you kissed those sweet cheeks so often....that you looked at him and thanked God for the gift. I just pray that you will always know that his time here was precious and meant for you. Praying that your heart would feel peace today!

Susan said...

Guilt is something I get. On a bad day I feel a failure. My primary task was to keep my daughter alive, and I failed. I know I have excuses - still, it is an A for effort, and F for attainment. It sucks.

On a good day, I know I gave my daughter the best possible life she could have had in the time we had togehter. How can you do better than that?

Sending you a hug for the bad days, and a hope that you can roll with the good. xx

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