I gave birth to a preemie. The guilt that comes along with that is IMMENSE. You can't help it. There is no way of not feeling like you failed your body, your baby, your husband, your family... and your SELF. I will tell you that I have cried more tears that I ever thought possible. To this present day, I have cried tears. I keep telling myself "What did I do wrong to cause this to happen?" I blame myself every day. I ask all the "What if" questions and drive myself nuts. I have made this fear worse by just digging myself a hole deeper and deeper that I am pretty sure reaches the earth's core. That's how bad it was. No one around me truly understands, unless you're a NICU mom that went through similar trials. Do you know how many times I have to stop myself from screaming when people would ask me why did it happen and if there was something I could have done differently. Clearly, if it could have been avoided I would have done that. But guess what, it took me a long six months to come to peace with that there was NOTHING I could have done. What happened to me just happens to pregnant people, whether they have complications or a perfectly healthy pregnancy. Whether they are overweight, underweight or just right. Whether they are vegan or eats bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It just happens. But people don't see it that way. I know when people hear the story they are probably saying in their head that maybe I should have lost some more weight before I got pregnant, maybe I should have eaten healthier during the pregnancy, maybe I shouldn't have worked so hard during the pregnancy. Maybe I should have done more holistic things during my pregnancy. Maybe I shouldn't have drank the caffeine when my migraines would hit that would literally keep me from getting out of bed during my pregnancy. Maybe I shouldn't have taken Tylenol for pains/migraines during my pregnancy. Maybe maybe maybe maybe. That's all I hear. Even after I spoke with my doctor who told me that THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO TO AVOID IT, I still didn't believe. Even after reading articles in medical journals about preecamplasia, I still didn't believe that it wasn't my fault. But thanks to my active participation in a support group for NICU mamas, it has been getting easier to peel off the layers of guilt. It's not completely gone but I learned I need to stop blaming myself. The guilt is something all NICU mamas feel. For us, it's normal and just something else we have to battle. I can tell you that I am still battling, but my fighting skills have gotten much better now. It get's a bit easier each day and for that I am grateful.
Once you have a baby it becomes an instant prompt for people to ask when are you having the next one. I ask myself this question every day. Will I have another one? I then feel like throwing up after thinking about it. My pregnancy was not easy. My birth experience was most definitely not easy. The amount of stress and anxiety that courses through my body when I think about having another baby is ridiculous. It shouldn't be this way. It comes to me telling myself "I don't think I will make it if I go through another preterm pregnancy." Emotionally I won't be able to handle it. Yes, there is a possibility that I can have a full term baby. But there is also a higher possibility of me going through the same thing again. And I am afraid that if I do, it will break me. It will break me hard where I don't think I or anyone else can pick up the pieces and glue them back together. This fear is not easy to get rid of. I know all I can do is pray and let God know what I can handle, but I am so afraid. I am afraid to go through a traumatic experience like this again. I'm afraid it will make me into a different person that I am not sure I would like. I am just afraid. I know other NICU mamas who decided after their first preemie that they were done having kids... because of the same fear. I would love to have another baby... (we do need a boy for the hub's sake haha) but when that will happen is beyond me. I will automatically be considered a high risk pregnancy. That alone scares me. Again, it shouldn't be this way. That's what I am always telling myself. But it is what it is and this fear is a work in progress. One day this fear will subside. When that day is, I have no idea. I just hope it gets easier and easier as the days pass.
For anyone who has been through similar experience, I am here if you need to vent, cry, scream, laugh and share with. I know it all too well.
To my friends and family, this may be a shocker to you that I feel this way, but please understand that I am OK and just going through the motions. I have become pretty good at trying to go on life as normal as possible and not let this affect how I am when around people. I've gotten pretty good at it with all the giggling and smiling I do. I do know you are there to support. But for some things, such as this, I decided to deal with it the best way I can and I was just not ready to come out with it. I am not ready to involve other people. One day I will be, but for now, keep doing what you do best, make me laugh and smile. I appreciate every one of you.
This is life. This is real. This is what I finally got the courage to share. Hardest post I have written, but I hope it helps someone else out there. I hope this gives you hope that shit gets hard, but you will be OK. For the time being, hang in there and reach out for support when you are ready to receive it. Try to your best to get through the days knowing that it will eventually get better... and better.. and better.
Smile.... you are enjoying another beautiful day. Be grateful for that and spread some positivity to someone else. You never know who needs it.