When I was 7 months pregnant, we moved from our rental home close to Roosevelt High School to our new condo in Salt Lake. I was packing for the move, in an uncomfortably warm home that didn’t allow any kind of AC, during the already-hot month of May. Cardboard boxes were crowding up the living room, and I had nowhere to walk, so I was stupid, bent down and tried to carry this insanely heavy box full of dishes and pots and pans. I managed to lift and move it across two feet to the door, and then put it down. I immediately got hefty round of Braxton Hicks (pseudo contractions), so I sat down and breathed through it. Then, I was fine and I kept packing.
Maybe Anna had a stroke when I lifted that box and strained all those internal womb muscles, or whatever they’re called.
Remember when I tried all those weird things to get Anna un-breeched? Like, putting that ice pack against my stomach, since apparently babies run away from the cold and they flip over to the right position? Maybe that did it.
Or, maybe it was because I finished Insanity Asylum during the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. I didn’t know I was pregnant then, but maybe I worked out too much when she was still like, embryo-ing.
Oh, and then when she stopped moving during the last trimester. Maybe I should have called the doctor sooner, like that morning, instead of waiting until the afternoon.
The blame game is strong in me. It’s always been, honestly – if anything bad happens, I always look at myself first to see whether it was my own fault or not, and I know it’s kind of a paranoid, pathetic, self-absorbed thing to do. I’m trying to get better about it.
But, when Anna was first diagnosed, the blame game really took over. It took steroids and turned into Blame Hulk. I pretended that it didn’t exist, that I wouldn’t have such a typical response of self-hate and guilt, but honestly, Blame Hulk kicked my butt.
Last month, one of our physical therapists casually told me, “Maybe Anna had a stroke because you didn’t take the right vitamins or didn’t have enough nutrients. Sometimes you know, it’s the environment that the baby was in.”
That really got to me, because yes, there were a couple days I forgot to take my prenatals. Did THAT do it?! I was an angry weeping mess, and snot-bubbled my way into an emotional brain dump to Kev. He told me not to blame myself, of course. My immediate response was: “But there’s nobody else to blame.”
I’m not too sure where I’m going with this, except to say that I think guilt is a pretty natural response to these situations, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. It was actually one of the first things that I’d been warned about, and so I was sure I’d be exempt, since I was prepared for it. I wasn’t. When you find there’s nothing and nobody else to blame, you end up turning on yourself. (That’s actually something my mom used to say. “Don’t point your finger at people, because all the other fingers in your hand are actually pointing at yourself.” LOL, ok.)
As humans, we crave to know. We want answers, especially when we don’t understand the why’s, and the doctors tell us: “We don’t know what caused it. It could have been anything. It could be genetics.” We end up blaming ourselves, blaming someone else, or God. The point is, there’s always plenty of blame to go around, especially when you’re unhappy about something.
I can’t say that I’m 100% no longer playing the blame game, but I’m doing better. Each time that guilty thought comes into my head, it’s becoming easier to snap out of it. I tell myself, “Yeah, OK, let’s get out of here” and turn away. I force myself to do other things. I pray, work, read the Bible, play with Anna or go get Starbucks. I remind myself of all the miracles that got us here, like how every single appointment we’ve had to make for Anna, there was a cancellation and we didn’t have to wait months like everyone else. God’s sending the right people our way and we’re getting the Best Help Possible.
Going down that road of “who’s fault is it?” is a guaranteed way to be miserable, and we decided in the beginning of all this that we’re not going to raise Anna in a miserable home. For her sake, I’m learning to fight it off, and we’re both getting stronger.