Let’s talk about parental guilt. Don’t we all question ourselves at one time or another?
Jess was born in 1987. She was beautiful and perfect. It wasn’t until 5 months later that we learned Jess was born with a birth defect. She has a malformation in the occipital region of her brain. Was it my fault ? The doctors told me it wasn’t.
But was it really?
The medical term on her medical report was hydrocephalus exvacuo which describes what happens when there is damage to the brain caused by stroke or injury.
What would cause a stroke or injury?
Was it something I did, or didn’t do?
Doctors asked me if I was sick during my pregnancy. I answered, yes! I was sick for at least a week or more during my first trimester. During that time I lost 7lbs. I would go on to describe the illness, and the doctors would ultimately say that was not the cause of Jessica’s birth defect.
Doctors asked if I had a cat during my pregnancy. Yes! I did have a kitten late during my second trimester. However, there was no litter box involved. The docs would say that was not the cause.
Doctors asked about well-water. Yes! I drank well-water during my third trimester. Not sure why they asked, because they would then say this was not the cause of Jessica’s birth defect.
I was asked about family history, genetics, etc. There was nothing – no connection.
What if it was because I cried all the time, at least through the first trimester? The kind of crying that would often lead to vomiting.
Could it have been because I was a teenager and didn’t eat as well as I should have? I worked at a fast-food restaurant and ate there frequently because I got a free meal with each shift.
What if it was that time I fell while walking on a frozen surface outside. I slipped and landed flat on my back. It was a hard fall and knocked the breath out of me. I was scared.
Speaking of scared
Is there any chance that living in fear could cause a stroke or injury to a developing fetus? I was scared – scared of the life ahead of me, scared of being an adult too soon, and scared of being hurt. Scared, even though I was assured that the chair that flew across the room wasn’t actually aimed at me. Because, I was told, if it had been aimed at me, it would not have missed.
Maybe, I shouldn’t have been scared since that fist that missed my face, and hit the door instead, wasn’t meant for me either. (To be clear, this was not #baddaddy – I was a teenager in an immature, bad relationship.)
Why do we ask ourselves, ” Is it my fault ?”
Does it matter if it was my fault? Does that change anything?
What if the fault WAS mine?
Why do some of us look for the possibility of it being our fault or not?
One possibility is that maybe it’s because as mothers we are meant to love, nourish, and protect our children. We have an innate need to know if we failed them somehow.
Another possibility is maybe we are trying to figure out what was meant to be. What if it was my fault and I altered this little person’s life forevermore?
Just – ‘Why’
I’m guessing that the reason we go through this personal investigation is more about the overall question of WHY?
Why did this happen?
But you know what? Every time I work through this question of whether or not it was my fault, I always come to the same conclusion. Things are exactly as they are supposed to be for us. This is the Jess that was given to me. And,
She is perfect.
I didn’t realize bad daddy wasn’t Jessica’s biological father. That makes their relationship even more special! I also had a child when my husband and I married who he has raised just the same as our kids together- it’s a special kind of love ❤️
Oh my Val, I was doing really well holding back the tears while reading this…then I seen Nonnies comment and LOST it. You are both truly special (amongst others in your journey) and I can tell you’ve both travelled this journey well.
I to some degree can relate to guilt. My way of dealing with it was to go inward and shut myself off from people who constantly felt like I needed to hear their wrong opinions of whatever the situation was at the time. I’m now learning at almost 52 that it is not my fault and more importantly I’m not allowing others to make me feel that way. Both my family and my husbands family blame everything on me. I was told not quite a year ago that mine and Terry’s children wouldn’t be like they are if they didn’t have me as a mother. Some families are precious aren’t they. Forgive me if turn a little green with envy over your family. ?
My son was diagnosed as ADD with a processing disorder, Obsessive amongst other things we have no diagnosis for currently. A drug addict and as far as we know right now, self medicating with weed and who knows what else.
My daughter was ‘fine’ until about 15 and then did a 180. Struggled with drugs and alcohol for many years and as far as we know still does. We now suspect she is bipolar and also self medicating especially with alcohol.
All my fault of course…and if you haven’t figured out by now I deal with things through humour which God has graciously gifted me with a sense of ?.
I strongly identify with your story. My daughter with autism is 36 and I have visited the guilty place many times. I have drawn the same conclusion: I need to be present now to guide and equip my daughter to live her best life in this world. I love her with all my heart and I am so blessed to have such a strong, incredible young woman as my daughter. Just like you and Jessica!
The love. It is an amazing thing, isn’t it. ❤️
You’re correct this is the life you were meant to live. It is no ones fault, it is a blessing, Jess is a blessing. ??
A very brave woman wrote this, and it was very, very difficult for me to read. Yes, you were given the marvelous person that Jessica is, but certainly Jessica got the marvelous mother who could not only accept the unique gift that Jessica is but could also love, nurture, teach, and enjoy her plus be a wonderful advocate for her! What an awesome pair!
Thank you, Mama. ❤️
Just found this wonderful channel on Instagram and watching the videos of Jessica and the family really made me smile…. you guys as an inspiration and a beautiful family ? X
Thank you! ❤️