Friday, February 1, 2013

Walking With You: Overcoming Guilt and Embracing Joy

January 28, 2013 ~ Overcoming Guilt & Embracing Joy

One area so many mothers struggle with is guilt, especially those who experience the loss of a baby/child.  We want to address this struggle in this post.  It will help mothers quietly battling guilt for living life and experiencing joy to know they are not alone.  Other moms silently battle this as well.  Whether it is the startling first time you really laugh after losing your child, or whether you have experienced the healing balm of joy for years, share your thoughts on this week's post.

"Whether it is the startling first time you really laugh after losing your child..."  It is kind of funny that this is in the description of what I am supposed to write about.  The first time I remember really laughing after my miscarriage, it shocked me.  I abruptly stopped because the sound was so foreign to me.  It was too joyous.  My baby had just died.  How could I be laughing?  I was supposed to be grieving, not celebrating!  How could I enjoy life when my baby did not get that chance?  So many questions, thoughts, and concerns went through my head.  I felt so guilty.  I began crying.  I sobbed.

I felt like a failure!

Guilt.  It can sneak up on you.  It does sneak up on you.  It has happened several times between my miscarriage and now, just 2 months, 1 week, and 4 days later.

I felt guilty about having my miscarriage.  Maybe I did something wrong.  Did I do something wrong?  I don't know.  I would like to think that I did everything right, but I don't know.  Could I have done something different?  Could I have ate better?  Could I have stopped drinking coffee and sodas completely?  Could I have exercised more or less?  Would any of it helped?

I felt guilty about telling certain people and forgetting to tell others.
I felt guilty about failing my baby.
I felt guilty that my body could not carry my baby full-term.
I felt guilty that even though I could get pregnant, I could not deliver a healthy baby.

I felt like a failure!

One day, I felt so down that I just started sobbing.  My fiance sat down beside me and asked me what was wrong.  I told him, "I am a failure!"  He asked me what I was talking about.  In between sobs, I rambled off something like this:

I am a failure.
I failed at being a mom.
I failed at being pregnant.
I failed at being a daughter.
I failed at being a sister.
I failed at being an aunt.
I failed at being your girl-friend/fiance.
I failed at being a student.
I failed at life.

This was one of my weakest moments.  Just writing about it now makes some of those feelings come back.  It makes my cry.  I am not sobbing this time, but the tears are definitely there.

The guilt and the grief were too much.  I could not handle it, so I would just break down and cry.  I would listen to songs that would make me cry.  Sometimes I would feel like I wasn't crying enough.  How could I truly be grieving if I wasn't crying?  Then there were some days when I thought that I was letting it all consume me.  I thought that I was thinking too much, doing too much, crying too much.

Luckily, I can say that I no longer feel like a failure.  I now laugh and enjoy life.  I know that I have to.  I know that Bo would want me to.  I still have days where I cry, where I feel down, where I just want to curl up in a ball in bed and sleep for days.  But, I am doing better!

I look at life differently now.  I do my best to enjoy every minute of it because it is a gift!  We are not promised tomorrow!  I love deeper, I laugh harder, I live fully!  I do this because Bo didn't get the chance.  I do my best to live my life in a way that would make Bo proud!


  1. Bo would be proud and I'm sure has never thought of you as a failure :) I think many of us have thought we should have had control over something (like our bodies) that we never really had control over. It can leave you feeling guilty and helpless.

    1. Holly,

      Thank you so much! I really do hope he is proud of me! And, helpless! That is another word I was searching for when describing those feelings! I did feel so helpless! Thanks again!

  2. Oh Kayla, I've been there... I felt like a failure for months! I watched all of my friends & family get pregnant and have healthy children. When we learned that Gabriel had a fatal complication, all I could think was how I had failed him and myself. That something so easy that everyone else could do, my body was incapable of. I think Bo would be so proud to know that you have overcome this hurdle of guilt and that you are now living your life to the fullest. Love to you Mama...

    1. Catherine,

      Yes! Watching family and friends have children. My brother has 6 and one on the way! I love all of my nieces and nephews, but I have always wanted to be a mother. He made it look so easy! Thank you! Hugs and love to you as well!

  3. Very positive ending Kayla! The feeling of guilt mixed with failure, is a very hard cup to drink from! So glad that you are laughing, loving and living for Bo... <3

    1. Jennifer,

      Thank you! I can say that I still have these feelings from time to time, but I am getting better. Each day is a new experience, and I am learning to accept it, love it, and live it!

  4. I are not a failure and I'm sure that Bo is proud of his mama. You honor his life well.

    And, I think we all have those horrible failure one area or another of our lives. I'm grateful that God covers us with His grace and that we are forgiven. I'm grateful Jesus paid the price for all the ways I fall short and that we can have freedom from the weight of all our "failures" because of Him.

    Love to you...

    1. Kelly,

      You are so right! Jesus paid the price, so that we don't have to. I am doing my best to lean on Him and trust in Him. Thank you so much for your kind words, and love to you as well!