Coping With a Sense of Failure

September 20, 2016

I was asked to complete a new health screening form at the doctors the other day. The typical questions were involved, otherwise I would have taken it personally when there was almost one full page dedicated to ruling out depression. I checked through the boxes truthfully, thinking I wasn’t doing too bad after all and then I got to a question that sent me reeling backwards.

Do you place unnecessary blame on yourself for things that happened in the past?

I was unable to answer because I do place blame on myself and I have not yet reached the place where I feel it unnecessary.

If I am truly honest, I do feel like I failed. On its worst day my inner voice tells me I couldn’t even get pregnant just like everyone else and there are people carrying 4, 6, 8 babies further along than I managed to carry triplets and their children lived.

They lived.

wooden heart

When I became pregnant with our rainbow baby I thought it would be a healing process, a chance for my body to do what it was “supposed” to do.

I would carry a baby to term, wear cute maternity clothes instead of a hospital gown for my entire pregnancy and I would not spend day after day in another NICU.

Instead I ended up in preterm labor, hospitalized before I reached my third trimester and even with my own stay in Intensive Care after my body hemorrhaged uncontrollably.

I remember looking down at my postpartum body, stitched and bruised and deflated and feeling deep failure again. That awful voice back again, telling me I couldn’t even get one birth right.

The sane, healthy me, on a good day, knows that I did everything I could to bring my children safely into the world and if I had known there were anything else I could possibly do to make a difference, I would have done it.

But the grieving part of me that has endured more blows than I can manage to get up from, is still trying to stand.

I have heard it said that you should talk to yourself as kindly as you would to your best friend. I guess I am still working on being my own friend, forgiving myself for the things I could not control and finding a place to put this persistent feeling of failure I have never been able to erase.

It seems to be in ink, checked off on a box right under my name, part of a medical history I have yet to file away with a sense of peace.

  • Jessica Watson is the stay-at-home mom to five, four in her arms and one in her heart. In 2007 she lost her infant daughter, one of triplets, and has been writing her way through the pain ever since. She is a freelance writer with a passion for grief support and working with special needs families. Jessica blogs with her heart on her sleeve at Four Plus an Angel.

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