Guilty Conscience

 

When we heard those fatal words “I’m sorry but your baby has died” our worlds absolutely shattered…

The first thing I remember doing was turning to Steven and saying I was sorry over and over again. It must have been my fault our baby had died, she was inside my tummy , I was her mummy, the only job I had in the entire world was to protect her keep her safe and I had failed. And failed hard!! How could I have made it to 1 week past her due date only to let her down right at the last hurdle. I was in labour, this was supposed to be it.. the day the last 10months had been leading up to.

We had taken all the antenatal classes with the other parents, I had never missed a scan or midwife appointment. I had taken myself to Triage when I thought something wasn’t quite right and had been checked and everytime I had been assured not to worry she was perfectly healthy. We had paid for private scans just to see her and check on her progress. We both couldn’t understand why this was happening.  I had just been in the hospital the night before checking on her reduced movements and they had noticed her heartbeat being erratic. We both stayed in the hospital for a few hours while I had been strapped to the trace while numerous midwives came in and changed my position and checked her progress. I never worried as I had been to triage many times and always had been reassured things were fine. When the doctor came in after a few hours he dismissed the heart trace as hiccups and as Francesca had started moving while I was in he had no concerns over the reduced movements. But that was the thing , after the midwife check our baby at the beginning of our visit to try and wake her up a bit, she had started moving frantically, more than I’ve ever felt her do before and I remember saying this to all the midwives who came in the room and the doctor but they never seen this as a concern. So when the doctor discharged me with the “hiccups” diagnosis , I left… I just bloody left the hospital! A few hours later our perfectly healthy baby was gone forever and I was in labour ready to deliver a piece of our shattered hearts into the world.

I don’t think I can every truly allow forgiveness to myself. Why did I trust those professionals, why didn’t I question more, say something more, anything at all , what happened to my mothers instinct? Did I not get that gene when it was being handed out??,  why did I allow them to just take a piece of papers word for it that our baby was healthy.. she wasn’t.. she was in distress and for all I know was pleading for someone to help her .. and I didn’t.. 

I always remember hearing about a “mothers guilt” and now I know first hand how real that is. Its all consuming and no matter what our amazing partners, friends, families, doctors, nurses, consultants (and all the trillions of other healthcare professionals we’ve met with since losing Francesca) tell you that it wasn’t your fault, you did everything right etc it doesn’t matter.  Your mind will constantly play on your soul and hold you accountable for everything bad that happened. I know some other mummy’s in my position may be able to understand this and maybe with time the heartache from the extreme guilt you carry will subside.

I pray one day I am able to allow myself some degree of happiness as trying to live your life after losing your baby is like a battle ground. Like the great Carrie Bradshaw quoted “you need to be careful where you tread as you can be blown to pieces”. By that I mean having to avoid anywhere that can blow what’s left of your heart to pieces such as:

Doctors surgery (when they schedule your 6 week check at the end of the baby clinic, thanks for that one docs!)

Any shopping centres you ever bought anything from while you were happily pregnant and living your best life. More than likely within the dreaded shopping centre you will also be hit with a mass of mums and dads with their newborn babies ramming their prams up your ankles just incase you didn’t already notice they were there.

Supermarkets where your are bombarded with frantic mums joking about “how they’d love to get a minute to themselves and hand them back sometimes”(these jokes are lost on bereaved mummys who would give their lives just to have another second with their baby before the ascended to heaven)

Coffee shops. You used to love chatting to your friends over a skinny latte? Well those days are gone my friend. The first time Steven and I braved Costa we were there for a total of 25 minutes and we counted (that’s what you do now) 9 newborn babies around us. Now I no longer frequent Costa or anywhere else that could give me my caffeine hit incase of the embarrassing episode of crying into my coffee.

Walks in the park? Gone forever! Parks have been wholly reserved for the proud mummy club that I am no longer a part of. In my mind it’s a reminder that those mummys could bring their beautiful babys safely into the world but I couldn’t. The word FAILURE screams out my name in parks. So it looks like Dakota will be pounding the streets on his walks forever more as we don’t go into parks now.

 

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These may seem a little absurd to some but honestly this is just a snippet of a day in the bereaved mummy’s life. I don’t for one minute blame any of the mums mentioned above whether it be in the park or supermarket as they are living their best lives and should be proudly showing off their beautiful little miracles everywhere and anywhere, this is just a personal battle I will continue to live with for the rest of my life. Maybe this is why I have recently found a new love for the gym, no babies allowed there. So maybe the good part of having to avoid these places is that if I want to get out the house for a while the only safe place to take my tubby ass is to the gym. I can see that size 12 in sight one day….

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As Always , For Francesca Alexis Johnston, born 8/2/18. Forever loved and forever missed xxx

 

20 thoughts on “Guilty Conscience

  1. My heart goes out to you as sadly I know exactly how you feel. Thank you for beautifully capturing the raw pain of that feeling of guilt and anguish.

    I too still feel like that, though I work hard to ensure it doesn’t consume me. I hounded our GP, our midwife and our maternity unit for weeks, because I knew ‘something’ wasn’t right, my bump felt too big and was way too sore and uncomfortable. Yet because our daughter’s heartbeat was strong they didn’t scan.

    At her routine 32 week scan it transpired that she was gravely I’ll, that fluid had built up in all her cavities, and she had a slim chance of survival. The night before her delivery her wee heart stopped.

    I know that it is not my fault that our daughter died but the feeling of guilt can still overwhelm – if only I had pushed for a scan when I first felt strange they would have discovered weeks before that she was poorly.

    Thank you for sharing so openly and honestly. Sending you love and understanding.

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    1. aw Shamira! my heart is broken for you. I am so so sorry you lost your beautiful beautiful little baby. Why do we add the additional mental torture to ourselves too.. its not the like the grief doesn’t quite hit you hard enough that your mind decides that it will add on additional guilt. Its awful and I am sorry that you can relate and I wish you had your baby girl with you now. xxxxx

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  2. I get wanting to hide away as everywhere will never be the same. I so wish I could take some of your pain even for a few hours so you can breath and recharge. Francesca mummy is so amazing and truly helping others to know their feelings and her own are validated. One more thing that little foot is the cutest. 💔❤🦋

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    1. Thank you for even saying that. That’s it though , you’re right its just trying to catch a wee 5 minutes to recharge or even attempt sleep. awwww also thank you for saying that about her foot. its my favourite wee foot ever xxx

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  3. My heart breaks when I read your blog. Mothers guilt is a terrible thing and I can’t imagine how you must feel. I know you’ll have so many people tell you not to feel that way but it just shows what a wonderful mummy you are that you do, that’s your mothers instinct right there 💕
    P.S her wee foot is just precious 🦋🦋

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    1. aw Joy , thank you for such a lovely words. that means a lot for you to say I’m a good mummy. Its actually a struggle I have with myself also .. am I still a mummy? so thank you for that xxxx

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      1. Yes you are still a mummy. You carried her, delivered her, love her.. she will always be part of you. You have well and truly earned the mummy title ❤

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  4. Charlene I don’t know you on a personal level but I have been following your stories everyday via Instagram and your blog and honestly my heart breaks in two for both you and Steven! You are both such amazing remarkable people and your both fighting an everyday battle but the love you have for each other and the love you both share for ur precious little princess is just totally outstanding and that’s what gets you both through these dreadful days! I love how you are so open and honest about ur feelings and emotions! I cannot even begin to imagine how you are feeling but I know you are such an amazing woman who finds strength everyday to get up and face this world even though all you will want to do is pull the covers back over ur head and not face it! I just think you are amazing! Sending love to both you and Steven xx

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    1. Stacey that is the nicest message, even more so as your saying, because we don’t know each other so it means my wee babys story is getting out there and making an impact on others without taking a breath in this world. Thank you so so much for following our story. when I started on insta I didn’t think anyone would read my posts (tbh I babble on teehee) but that also means a lot that you check in with us I don’t feel strong or amazing in anyway so thank you for saying that. I’m hoping one day our insta will turn into a happier one xxxxxx

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  5. Thank you so much for writing this. I feel the exact same way sometimes, most times. I lost my daughter at 34.4 and delivered her at 35. We have no knowledge or results as to why she died, all I know is that she was very healthy and growing perfectly until she died. And I tell myself all the time, why didn’t I know she was dying, I didn’t even know when she was dead. We went to the hospital bc I started bleeding and dr didn’t seem concerned so we weren’t either. I thought labor had started. Only to arrive at the hospital to find out she was gone. Some days it still seems like a dream I need to wake up from. The mom guilt is real, and I also know that if our daughters were alive we’d feel mom guilt in different ways, but this is the strongest form of it possible. I’m so terribly sorry you also feel this way but please know that you are an amazing mommy and to write about your baby girl touches and helps so many others. We have to remind ourselves that there’s nothing we could’ve done and we could have never imagined THIS would happen. It’s so funny, people never know what to say to me and I find myself writing this and wanting to say the right things and nothing to upset you. How ironic. Hugs to you sweet mommy!!

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    1. honestly I don’t think I can thank you enough for sharing your story with me and understanding my feelings. i bet your baby girl was just absolutely beautiful.
      its those brave people exactly like you that picked me up from the absolute lowest depths of despair and made me feel less alone in this and that there may be hope one day that this pain may ease slightly but I cant imagine that at all as I miss Francesca more than words could ever ever say..I wish more than anything that you were one of the lucky ones who didn’t understand this guilt but unfortunately you are just like me ,,, an absolute lost soul with no clue how to live our new normal lives. I love that you say your looking for the right things to say teehee its even difficult I guess for those in the “bereaved mummy club” to know how to address another grief in the way we feel it should …deserving of the utter heartbreak that we know they feel and to also want to mention their babys name as you know that is the greatest gift in the world for us xxxxx

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      1. You’re amazing and I hate that we’ve met this way but so happy to “know” you and your Francesca. I just showed her picture to my husband and we were talking about how beautiful she is. I bet she and my Cooper girl are giggling now, happy that we’ve found each other. They’re only 20 days apart those sweet girls. 💗💗

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  6. Charlene once again my heart her a with pride for the way you are taking on every day and helping so many other mommy’s and daddy’s out there whose precious babies have been taken from them. I know sometimes you doubted it but you were always so strong before and your strength now is amazing. I can’t begin to imagine how much it costs you each time to share your memories and worries and challenges but you are doing it. I wish there was a way to help ease your pain but meanwhile I am both heartbroken and so proud of you xxxx

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    1. aw Noreen this is the best msg to read , thank you ! and also for the lovely compliments that honestly means millions especially coming from one of the strongest inspirational mentors I can think of. I hope our wee blog does help someone day. we just felt so so alone when we got home from hospital without our baby, just shattered beyond belief with no one to turn to for help or even speak to someone this had happened to as we knew of no one until the Instagram community found me and people sent their storys to me in the hundreds and it made us instantly feel a little less alone. The pride I will feel if my babys story reaches someone in need just like us will be immense. xxxxxx

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  7. There was a time in my life I could connect with absolutely everything you’ve just listed for completely different reasons. I’m sure any grieving parent will empathise with every point and the rest if us completely understand why you and Steven may feel the need to avoid these situations. Ultimately it’s self . You have to protect your vulnerable hearts. Big love to you both. A bueatifully written post Charlene x

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  8. There was a time in my life I could connect with absolutely all those places to avoid for completely different reasons. I’m sure any grieving parent will empathise with every point and the rest if us completely understand why you and Steven may feel the need to avoid these situations. Ultimately it’s self preservation . You have to protect your vulnerable hearts. Big love to you both. A beautifully written post Charlene x

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    1. Thank you for understanding the words in this post. I fear I may babble on incoherently where no one understands or “gets” my crazy thoughts. You are so right with the phrase self preservation, that’s exactly it!! the silliest little things bring on the most intense pain in my heart . Thank you for reading our little ones story xxxxxxxx

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  9. Aw sweetheart!! This is so heartbreaking!! You have NOTHING to feel guilty about! You put your trust in those who were supposed to protect and help you and your gorgeous little girl! You did have mothers instinct- that’s why you went in and got checked! You did your bit! Pleaseee don’t feel like a failure – you are far from that and you are making Francesca so proud just now with the way you are coping – you are helping others going through similar positions by speaking out and giving Francesca and all the other poor families going through similar situations a voice!
    Sending all my love and a big cuddle xxx

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    1. Emma thank you so much for taking the time to read my blog and leave such a lovely msg. its so so appreciated especially saying I did have the mothers instinct as its something I doubt greatly. I do wonder if our wee baby can see us and wonder what she is doing in heaven.. I wonder if she has met my family members who have passed or even some other angel baby friends. I really do hope like your saying that this blog could even just reach one person who is sitting at home feeling just as alone on her grief as I do and may feels a little less alone after it. C xxxx

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