I’ve watched way too much Grey’s Anatomy in my day; enough to see the heartbreaking episodes where a father must choose between saving his wife or his unborn child. I know many people simply chalk these episodes up to storylines for the TV drama, but it happens.
Mothers can die in childbirth. Complications arise and sometimes the horrible decision has to be made as to who should be saved.
Society pretends that pregnancy is this easy thing when in reality, it’s not. It’s full of complications and even death.
You literally risk your life to have a child, even if people don’t always see it that way.
As a self-diagnosed hypochondriac, this was an immense fear of mine when I was pregnant with Asher. I was terrified that I would develop a complication and the decision would have to be made as to who should live.
During my pregnancy, my husband and I discussed what he would do in that situation if the decision came down to him. He told me that he would choose to save me.
Immediately, I confessed that I would want him to do the same.
I didn’t tell my husband to save our baby.
I told him if the decision came down to it, that he should fight to save me, not our baby.
How terrible am I? What kind of mother does that make me?
The guilt I felt after verbalizing these thoughts was overwhelming.
I confided in some close friends about this conversation and my guilt over it. They shared that they had similar conversations with their spouses during each of their pregnancies. They all agreed to make the same decision; save the mother.
Relief washed over me. I wasn’t the only person who felt the same way. Whew!
Then my baby died inside of me.
My baby’s heart stopped, but mine kept beating.
Immediately, this conversation flashed into my head.
I did this. I wished this on him by having this conversation and verbalizing my desire to be chosen over him.
His death was my fault for even thinking about the possibility of him dying.
In between contractions and tears in that hospital room, I confessed to my husband that this was my fault. I told him to choose me over Asher, and I feared daily about this exact outcome, Asher being born still.
I did this to our son.
My husband assured me that wasn’t the case. We didn’t do this Asher. He confessed that he also worried about Asher being stillborn and then confirmed that nothing we thought or talked about caused this outcome.
It just happened.
He was right.
After our miscarriage, we were highly aware that bad things can happen in a pregnancy and we were just trying to be as prepared as we could during Asher’s.
We talked about the hard things that are painful to think about, let alone discuss out loud.
That doesn’t mean that we caused his death or that we deserved it because of the answer we both gave to a tough question.
My friends gave the same answer, and they didn’t lose their babies.
Carrying a child is scary. It is risky. You have no control over what is happening inside your own body.
It isn’t all happiness and butterflies. While we want to associate pregnancy with only life, that’s not always the case.
It can turn into life or death for mother and/or child rather quickly.
If you are one of the unfortunate people who have experienced one of these situations, know that it isn’t your fault.
You thinking or discussing various hypothetical outcomes of your pregnancy didn’t cause the one that left you without your child.
It doesn’t mean that you love your child any less than someone who would’ve made the opposite hypothetical choice.
After battling infertility and suffering a miscarriage, Asher was our rainbow of hope. He was/is so loved and very much wanted.
When that hope died, the guilt I felt was immense. In my mind, I was a terrible mother who manifested her unborn child’s demise.
I deserved all the pain I was in. It was my fault.
It’s taken me time to get to this realization, but I’m here to tell you that while our thoughts have power, they aren’t THAT powerful.
Any negative thought you had while pregnant did not cause the loss of your child.
My own experience is proof of that. I worried about a first-trimester miscarriage during my pregnancy with Asher, but he lived into the third.
I worried every day during my pregnancy after loss that Asher’s twin sisters would die, just like him, but they were both born healthy.
Your fictional choice to choose yourself over your unborn baby didn’t cause your baby to die.
You worrying about having a miscarriage didn’t cause your baby to die.
You thinking about the possibility of your child being stillborn didn’t cause your baby to die.
You worrying about the possibility of an incompetent cervix didn’t cause your baby to die.
You worrying about SIDS didn’t cause your baby to die.
After losing a child, all you want to do is find someone to blame for it. Unfortunately, that person tends to be yourself.
Being forced to live without your child for the rest of your life is enough pain to deal with, don’t add more to it by taking on the guilt for something you couldn’t control.
This horrible thing happened TO you, not BECAUSE of you.
Your child is loved and wanted. No negative thought you had during pregnancy can take that away from you.
Amy Lied is a wife and a mother to her son, Asher, who was inexplicably born still on February 19th, 2017 and twin daughters. Before losing Asher, she suffered a miscarriage and struggled with unexplained infertility. She has documented her journey from the beginning of her infertility struggles on her blog, Doggie Bags Not Diaper Bags. She is also a co-founder of The Lucky Anchor Project , an online resource for loss families that houses an Etsy store whose profits are donated to loss family non-profit organizations. She hopes to help others by sharing her journey as she continues to navigate the bumpy road that is life after loss.