The thought that I failed my little boy runs through my mind on a daily basis. People tell me that I should seek professional help because of that. Why? Why does my instinctual desire to protect my little boy mean I need counselling? I don’t see it as anything other than being a mum.
I did everything I possibly could to help Otis get Earthside safe, sound and alive. I ate the ‘right’ things; I stopped doing anything that could have affected my pregnancy; I didn’t drink alcohol; I increased my daily intake of water by a litre to ensure I stayed hydrated … but my son still died inside me.
I couldn’t save him. There was absolutely nothing I could do, as his mummy, to protect him. Because of that I feel like I failed in my duty as his mum and, regardless of how many people try to tell me otherwise, that thought is never going to change.
It’s a hard thought to come to terms with. I know I did all I possibly could. I know that if I could sacrifice myself for my son that I would. I know that I love him just the same as I love his big sisters. I know that if there was absolutely anything I could have done to change the outcome, I would have done it in a heartbeat. Yet, I still feel I failed him.
If you did all you could, why do you still feel that way?
Because he’s my baby. The one ‘job’ I had for those 35 weeks he was living was to grow him, nurture him, and deliver him healthy. The one ‘job’ I had for the 35 weeks he was living was to get him ready to live. Though it wasn’t intentional, I didn’t manage to do those things, therefore I failed.
It’s not easy, the constant feeling of blame. Even when you know it isn’t your fault, you still blame yourself.
I think that’s what makes childloss so different to losing another relative or friend … amongst other factors. The constant ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ …
The constant feeling of being powerless. The constant feeling of helplessness. The feeling of failure. The feeling of blame. The I’m his/her parent, I’m supposed to protect them. The it just doesn’t happen to people like us. The it just happened. The what if that bump to my stomach at 12 weeks pregnant is what caused my stillbirth. The what if I followed my gut instinct and insisted I had a scan the day before, he might have made it. The what if there was something I could have done differently? The maybe if we knew earlier there would have been something they could have done to save him. The what if I was induced the day we found out he was terminal, COULD he have lived?
Could he have lived?
Would he have lived?
We’ve been told repeatedly by numerous doctors that our little boy had absolutely no chance of living.
But … what if they are wrong?
And those thoughts just do not go. They might ease, with time, as I keep being told they will – but for now they’re persistent, they’re constant, they are at the forefront of my mind every single day.
This doesn’t make me crazy. This doesn’t mean that I need ‘professional help.’ This doesn’t mean that I’m not coping. It simply means that I’m his mummy.
And here I sit, reminding myself once again, that it is completely okay NOT to be okay sometimes.
And here I sit, tears streaming down my face, promising myself that I couldn’t have saved my son.
And here I sit, chest hurting with the ache of missing my baby, forcing myself to believe what I know – there is NOTHING I could have done.
Otis Dominic Anthony Cullen; you are missed beyond words and loved beyond measure.