Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Guilt – Responsibility for a wrong action; shame –Webster’s Dictionary

Guilt takes on so many forms, especially as we get older. My cousin sent me a poem about mothers of two children and there was this one line about guilt that struck a cord with me.

I remember when I was pregnant after Katie, but before Phillip. I was so weepy for most of the first trimester. I could not imagine sharing my relationship with Katie with another being. I feared that the child would - Dare I say it out loud?- intrude on my bond with Katherine. I was worried that Katie and I would become distant, that I would not be able to love another child as much as I love Katherine. Then I felt guilty for having such selfish thoughts and anxiety. Then almost overnight, I accepted that I was going to have another child, and even got excited.

Peace was fleeting. Around twelve weeks, I lost the child and I became inconsolable. I can still hear the hushed whispers in the hallways outside the ultrasound room. The quick gasp of the technician. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I was asked to wait in the room farthest from all the other patients. The sound of the hands of the clock. The little voice scolding me for not appreciating the gift while I had it…

It was like my body knew my thoughts and it refused to release the fetus. Despite repeated counselings over the following weeks, I refused a D&C. The doctors kept telling me that intervention was necessary, that too much time had passed. I pushed their advice aside. I pushed Peter away. Guilt.

I don’t even remember driving my car there, but somehow I ended up at Father Palmer’s office. Upon crossing over the threshold, the tears I had been holding inside for weeks came flooding out. Deacon McManus was such a huge help. As the guilt that had been snaking its way through my heart unfurled at his feet, he slayed the shame and put me on my path towards acceptance.

A few months later, I was pregnant with Phillip. This time I was overjoyed and somehow all the anxiety I had before never reared its ugly head. Funny how things like that happen. When I learned that Phillip’s twin died, however, I felt guilt all over again; like a punishment for daring not appreciate the gift of motherhood way back when. When Phillip came eight weeks early due to a rupturing placenta, I felt guilty for working so hard even after I was told it was a high risk pregnancy.

Guilt can be a cross from which you never escape, if you let it. But I guess that is the lesson, isn’t it? Keep just enough to push you towards being a better person without letting it consume you. After all, we attract that which we put the most energy, so why not attract positivity and light into our lives.

Now I am at peace and enjoying every moment with BOTH my children. I make time for just Katherine, just Phillip, and time together. That is not to say there aren’t times when I feel guilty for feeling the way I once did, but I have accepted it. More importantly, I have moved on.

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