Thursday, April 29, 2010

the i-would-nevers

I am feeling really exhausted by people lately. Maybe it is hormonal or something, but I am in an angry, bitter, frustrated state with the population at large.

There are so many people around me that are newly pregnant. Two of them just within my small-ish group of coworkers. One of them is sixteen weeks, and has brought up genetic testing with me on two different occasions now--not exactly my favorite topic of conversation at 5AM (or ever). Since I have recently been through one and a half pregnancies, I have become the resident expert on "what to expect." So naturally, I guess, she was wondering about this blood work they were sending her for. When I told her it was probably for the quad screen, she went on about how she would be declining genetic testing because...

"I would never terminate a child."

If you are one of the unlucky members of our club, you know how that statement cuts right into your heart. I have seen it written online a million times, but I have never had someone say it to my face. I felt like I had been punched. Even worse was today, she explained that she did end up getting the blood work, but she "wouldn't get rid of it" either way.

Her tone was totally casual, not accusatory or even necessarily judgmental, but I am still somewhat dumbfounded. To her credit, she does not know all the details of my loss, and I'm not really offering them, either. I know that she really has no idea how many things could go wrong, or what she would do if something really did. I know that you cannot possibly appreciate the gravity of the situation until you have been there. You can't fathom the heartache and the agony and the guilt.

I have been struggling with the guilt lately. I tend to get caught up on the negative perceptions of termination and then torture myself with them. In my heart, I know I spared my daughter from suffering, but her defects are still the fault of my body. I am the one who allowed the induction of contractions that would ultimately end her life.

I am still trying to forgive myself.


Hope's Mama said...

One thing I know is - I could NEVER imagine the depths of your heartache or just how acutely difficult that situation was. A choice I never hope to have to make.
I wish we could all free ourselves of the guilt. It can so easily weigh us down.
Love to you.

jordgubben said...

Never say never, right? How many times have I seen posts by people in our situation who start with, "I'd never thought I'd be here..." I've been having similar feelings of guilt as I enter my third trimester with my "rainbow baby". It's such an odd dance...feeling the guilt for having signed the papers to end it all and at the same time knowing it was absolutely the right decision and that even if I could go back I'd still make the same decision.

Anonymous said...

I never commented before but now I feel strong enough to do so. I wanted to tell you how much your beautiful blog has helped me overcome the loss of my daughter. When I was reading it, it was like reading my thoughts. It moved me so much that I have recommended it to one of my friends who has gone through the same experience you and I have.

I had to make that choice too, I was the one who asked them to start the induction. My dear angel girl was my first baby and I miss her so deeply.

I am now pregnant again and I miss my little girl in a whole different level now. The guilt is worse.
I'm posting anonymous because not many people now the details of my daughters loss.

I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me heal and making me realize that I was not alone.

Dana said...

Some days the guilt is unbearable, but I know that I would make the same decision if I were able to go back. No one can truly say "I would never..." because until you are standing there staring at it, (whatever it is) you can't possibly know how you will react. When people say things like that to me, I have to fight really hard not to say something that will burst their naive bubble. I have to remind myself of that soaring joy that I tasted during the first half of my pregnancy and try not to steal that from them.

Thank you for speaking the words that are floating in my heart.

biojen said...

I keep telling myself that I did the best I could with the information I had. Even though the knowledge that I could have prevented my son's death if only I had known certainly adds to the guilt. But I'm not psychic and I did what the doctors told me. Right now the guilt is not so bad, I just wish things could have been different. I haven't had anyone say I would never to me yet, but I'm sure it will happen. I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I hope that you find some peace for yourself and can remember that you did your very best for Layla. She knows you loved her.

Abigail W. said...

Oh darling girl.

I'm so angry that she said that--I suspect that may have influenced my recent Facebook post--and I still am gnashing my teeth when I think of it. Especially that she's stirring up guilt. Feh!

I have felt very little guilt for our termination (although once when DH used the words "the abortion" I burst into tears. Now he calls it "the euphemism"). The only time I feel guilty is when I end up explaining that his defects were physical, but his mind was untouched...but I really feel that aching, agonizing, sickening guilt that I'm the one with the disorder. When I really want to torment myself I start thinking about how much he looked like his father, and how the only thing I gave him was his bottom lip and every single deformity on his tiny, imperfect but still so beautiful body.


P.S. @ Anonymous--warm and sympathetic thoughts to you. You definitely are not alone.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Abigail. It helps to read your kind words.

Aleina said...

Anonymous- I've been meaning to tell you how much it warms my heart that this blog has been helpful to you. It was terrifying when I first started writing publicly about our experience, but I knew that if even one person came across it and could relate, it would be worth it. You are definitely not alone. I would love to hear more about your story, do you have a blog? You are welcome to email me any (and that goes for all of you!)