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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > Feeling Like A Failure

It's been a little over nine months since we lost our baby boy. We terminated for medical reasons and I think about him and our decision every day. I used to identify as a good mom, and a good wife. I was even pretty good at my job. I spend most days now trying to convince myself that I am not awful at all of these. What really bothers me right now is that my husband doesn't seem to have these issues at all. He never questions our decision while I, on the other hand, have been over it again and again, wondering what it means for me as a mom. Sometimes I even get caught in the "did I cause his birth defect?" path (dental x-rays around the time of conception? bad genes? too much stress?). As for our marriage, he doesn't ever question whether losing our son has had an adverse effect on our relationship (something I wonder all the time). Intimacy can still be difficult for me; and he was ready to try for another baby very soon after we lost ours. Oh and I am awful at work right now since I can't focus and haven't been able to since everything happened.

On one hand, I am grateful for his stability. If it wasn't for him, we would have had no income for the 6 months after our loss since I was absolutely useless from a job perspective (I am independently employed and basically took a hiatus). But I cannot at all relate to it. If something negative happens with work, I start re-listing my life failures (let my baby die, probably caused something to be wrong with him to begin with, didn't do my job as a mother, terrible wife as a result, etc.). I can't get out of this cycle and the one person who knows most what I have been through just keeps on ticking without a scratch to his self esteem. I don't get it. It's not that I want him to feel like a failure, but why am I stuck here and he's not?
February 18, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAnon
Hi Anon,

We lost under completely different circumstances. I'm so terribly sorry that you have lost your little boy.

I know logically we know that it is not our fault. That we did the right thing, made the best decision out of love etc etc. But it doesn't stop those trains of thought. It doesn't ease our guilt, our self flagilation.

I blame myself for so much. I recently discovered that my Husband also blames himself. I didn't know that. He thinks that his mental breakdown, drove our little girl away!! It took a lot for him to say that, I can't remember how it came about. But it made me realise, that despite him looking like he is coping, like everything is ok, actually it isn't. He just keeps it internal. He doesn't feel I need to be carrying any other worry. Maybe your husband is the same??

I go through the I must be a terrible wife, I can't even give my husband a living child. I have been infertile then we fall miraculously then I can't manage to look after her. I must be awful, useless, a bad person. 6 months on I still can't be bothered at work, I don't even keep the house as clean as so used to. I can't be bothered to socialise.

I think I am trying to say, I echo your lack of motivation, enthusiasm. I'm hoping it's 'normal'. I'm hoping that at some point, something will click and life may move forwards.

I have the added grief of being older, and him suggesting he never wants to ttc. Do our angel baby maybe it. It's hard to grieve twice.
February 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEmma I
Oh Anon, We also terminated for medical reasons. It's the 5 year anniversary of Shelby's birth on the first of next month. The guilt and the what ifs and the questions don't end but they get easier to ignore if that makes sense? Eventually I've gone to a place where none of matters because it is what it is and Shelby isn't here. I can't go back, I can't undo it, I can't make her little body unbroken and compatible with life so my brain has to go to a place where all there is is that I love her and miss her. And that's the end. The cycling through the what ifs and the self blame is so mentally draining. Are you seeing a therapist? I needed mine to help retrain my thoughts and get out of the pattern of thoughts of my baby going directly to blaming myself and the pit of sadness.

My husband never blamed himself. He never wondered if we were making the right choice. He never questioned his decisions. But then again- it wasn't his body, not his signature on the papers signing her life away, not him accepting the medication that would end her being, so maybe it isn't possible for the men in our lives to feel as deeply as we do? I understand when you say you don't want him to feel like a failure......... but perhaps what you want is someone else to feel what you feel so they can understand. When it happened to us I initially felt like I had a partner in it all, someone who was in it with me. And I did, but he didn't feel what I felt, and that was lonely. It's lonely when you realise you're the only one who truly feels what you feel.

Which is why I found glow so helpful, because here are a tribe of mamas who get it. I'm so sorry for your loss x
February 19, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Hi Anon,

I am so sorry for the loss of your baby boy.

My loss was a different situation than yours but I know exactly how you feel in terms of guilt and questioning if you're good at anything anymore. When my son died, I started relating his death to my ability to do anything right. After all, I wasn't able to catch that he was in distress, didn't pay enough attention to his movements, so surely I was a failure at that and everything else? Any other fact seemed contradictory. So when I catch myself being a great employee, or a great wife, or anything else, I have a dark voice in my head that says, "but you're not good at everything." See, I know that's not logical, but sometimes I can't help it. I am seeing more that these things are isolated, and that I am great at things in my control. I put all my effort into things and they reflect how hard I work. So something like the death of my baby, then, was obviously out of my control. I didn't cause his death. And you certainly didn't cause your baby's birth defect. I can say that with 100% certainty. It's the grief talking, the horrible sadness and illogical guilt that makes us question everything.

You did not fail. Please don't blame yourself. And it isn't indicative of who you are as a person. Again, this was a horrible, isolated tragedy in your life, and his birth defect was out of your control.

As for your husband, mine too seemed like he healed from his grief alarmingly fast. Much, much faster than me. The more I talk to him, the more I realize that he doesn't blame himself at all, whereas I blame myself heavily. He thinks it simply isn't logical, things were out of our control, so why linger and go back into the "What-ifs" when they won't actually help? I find myself stuck in the what-if thinking, which makes things harder on me on top of the normal grief that we feel after our losses. Another thing I learned is that my husband grieves SO differently from me. It doesn't mean that he isn't sad and still grieving, it means that he's internalizing his sadness and grieving by making himself busier at work, being more productive, and occasionally letting out tears when he's driving to and from work. My grief is more intense, more emotional. We were the mothers, we held our babies in our womb, where our husbands didn't really get to physically bond with them yet. That's a big part of it, too. I felt so much more of a connection with Riyad than my husband did, although he bonded with him through feeling his kicks, talking to him, etc. But we grew them, we loved them while they were unborn. The connection deepens my grief more than my husband's, because we both didn't get to spend time parenting him or meeting him as a living baby.

The point of all of that was to suggest that maybe your husband is just grieving differently than you. I definitely think it's worth talking about it to him to see how he mourns; I don't think he just got over it in record time. He is still sad, but he expresses it in a very different way than you. I learned more about how my husband is grieving through observation of him and changes in his habits rather than anything we actively discussed, but we have talked about our differences here and there. That might help.
February 21, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterNada