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.
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.