Guest Post by Lisa Sissons
I’ve spent a lot of time recently thinking about the regret that I feel regarding all of the events leading up to Finley’s death and some of the decisions that were made afterwards. Several people that I’ve spoken to have told me that I shouldn’t feel guilt or regret about what happened because in the circumstances, there was nothing I could have done differently. But perhaps part of my regret is that everything was so beyond my control.
So what is regret?
1. sad or disappointed feeling – a feeling or expression of sorrow and guilt for a past action or event that you now wish had not happened or had happened differently
2. feeling of sadness – a feeling of sadness, disappointment, or longing for somebody or something that is no longer there
The definitions for regret are so fitting in this situation. I so wish that things had happened differently. I so long for my sweet Finley that is no longer here. In hindsight, if I would have known he was going to pass away, I would have discharged myself from the hospital to be with him. I know I was in a really bad way myself, but I would give anything now to have had the chance to hold him properly while he was still alive. I wish that I could have cuddled him, spoke to him, and loved him as he passed away. I wish that I could have told him how much I loved him and sang him the songs that I hear in my head all of the time. I wish I could have dressed him in clothes that I had picked out for him, and wrapped him in his soft blanket with the hippos on that said ‘daddy loves me’.
I know in my heart that I couldn’t have known when he was going to pass away, or even if he was going to pass away. I knew he would be poorly, but I didn’t think he would die. When I asked one of the doctors, before I started hemmorhaging, I was told he would be ok. I was so, so scared. When he was still alive, I was asked if I had been planning to breastfeed him. I was. They brought in a breast pump to I could pump breast milk to send to him in the other hospital. That in itself gave me hope that he would survive…for why would he need my milk if he was dead? I thought I was doing my best for him, but it all feels now like it was not enough. None of it could ever be enough because I wasn’t there.
I’m sure that regret is a normal emotion for babylost parents to feel. The real question, is what can we we do to deal with the regret? How can we express it in a productive way that doesn’t just eat away at us?
For me, the biggest help has been this blog. I share my thoughts and my feelings and it helps. For others it might be fundraising, or creating a charity, or making art. I can read back on what I’ve written and realise that actually, it makes sense. I have reason to have regret about what happened. I know I couldn’t change the events, but that doesn’t mean I don’t wish that none of it had happened.
So I guess the ultimate goal is to work towards accepting what happened. Acceptance will mean that I can eventually work towards forgiving myself for what happened. Acknowledging the regret and accepting that there will always be a part of me that regrets what happened. I will always regret that Finley is not alive. I also keep reminding myself that I made the best decisions at the time that I could have done with the information I had. I will learn to accept the loss and the regret and make peace with it. Someday.
How do you deal with regret?