Friday, July 20, 2012

Guilt - Part 2 (with several run-on sentences)

I read a fellow heart mom's blog this week titled "Guilt" and it describes the guilt you feel as a heart mom (or mom to any special needs child I am sure) as to how you could have caused all of this turmoil to be in your newborn baby's life.  You can read the blog post by clicking here.  It will help make sense when reading my post below.

So after you somewhat get over the guilt of thinking you caused your child's heart to be formed differently, her liver to have a rare disease, and for her to be born almost 3 months early, a new sort of guilt sets in.  The guilt associated with parenting. 

What do I mean?  Well, like when Claire repeatedly throws her new juice cup on the floor and juice flies everywhere leaving a sticky path all over the floor, and I feel my patience growing thin - I automatically slip into guilt-mode.  I shouldn't be getting upset about this.  I shouldn't tell her "no" in a stern voice.  I should be happy that she can actually drink from the cup and use her strength to throw it.  I should be happy that she has a personality to know whether she wants juice or not.  I should just be happy she is ALIVE after all that she has been through! 

And I sink into that thought process over and over of feeling guilty for feeling "normal" parent reactions.  I try really hard not to treat Claire any differently than I would if she had not been through all that she has been through.  But at the same time, I can't just ignore it either.  Claire has been through more in her short 21 months than most people have to experience in their entire lives.  She has had a really rough start!  But I want her to grow up just like all the other kids.  Although she is special to us and I want her to always know that, I don't want her to feel that kind of special if you know what I mean - that she gets special privileges just because of her medical history. 

I want Claire to know that she can do anything that anyone else can do.  I don't ever want her to feel like she is limited or being held back by anything or being sheltered.  She can be whatever she wants to be in life.  I want her past to be a part of her, but not to define everything that she is or that she can do.  Yes, I know it's what makes Claire who she is.  But there is a difference.  Does that make sense to anyone but me?

I know probably most all parents feel guilty when they discipline their child.  I have heard of stories where the parent disciplines then has to leave the room because they are crying too hard themselves.  I get it that it's probably a normal parenting reaction. 

But is it normal that when I am rocking Claire to sleep at night that I know there are 5 million things waiting for me to do (dishes, laundry, pick up toys, emails, pay bills, etc.).  And I feel anxious that I need to hurry up and put her to bed, but then I really just want to sit and hold her all night. But I can't.   I have those 5 million things to take care of before I go to bed.  But I shouldn't need to do those things because our daughter could have died on several occasions and she has had her stomach and chest cut wide open and she had to spend all those long hours in the hospital in a scary place so I just need to sit and hold her a little while longer because if not, then I will feel guilty that I thought the chores were more important than holding Claire a little longer because, you know, what if something happens to her and I wish that I had just sat there a few more minutes and breathed in her sweet scent and kissed her warm skin and.........  Or getting excited about going out to eat - just me and Trent so that I don't have to scarf down my food as I feed someone else and pick up a cup off the floor and cut up more banana - and then feeling guilty once we get there that we should be home spending time with our daughter and that I shouldn't have even been excited about leaving her to go eat my food slowly because I should want to feed her and be with her because, you know, she has a heart defect and she spent more than 100 days in the hospital and........   You get my point.  Parent guilt trips going over and over in my head. 

I am curious as to if any other parents of healthy or unhealthy children feel the same way????  Or you can honestly just tell me it's just me.  I will be ok with that too. 

The Scott Family


  1. I really hope what you are going through is normal because that is what I feel like all the time too. If Hope does some kid thing that drove me crazy with her brothers, I find myself feeling guilty that I get upset about it...because she has been through so much. The guilt we feel is so very normal and I think it is more so with a baby that was 'not supposed to make it' or survived surgeries and procedures that are just too damn scary to really think about. I have managed to get in a little discipline and nights out with the hubby are much easier now, but I still have the guilt. Now...with the stuff getting done around the house...that guilt has never been there and probably never will. I have 3 kids under house is and will be a mess until they are all over 10. I have accepted that and like putting each of them to bed at night...without any guilt about getting any cleaning done.

  2. I feel the same way about Caden not sleeping . . . like I feel like I should just be grateful for the opportunity to be up all night with my baby, when I wasn't sure I'd even have that chance. But that doesnt make it easier, I dont think, to sit up and not sleep night after night. Anyways, I dont have any answer, just want you to know I can totally sympathize.

  3. I have a healthy 6 year old and I feel that way all the time! Partly, or maybe mostly, because I work in the PICU and I see all the terrible things that can happen and so feel that pressure to appreciate what I have all the time. And I do appreciate him in a different way than parents who don't have that perspective, either first hand or through work. But the reality is, sometimes they make you crazy and sometimes you need a break and sometimes you are tired and will be short with them. And then I do feel guilty, but deep down, I know that most of the time I am a really good mother and that is what counts. At least I hope so, because none of us can be good all the time! And we need to set limits so they can grow up to be productive members of society.