Real Talk - Grief & Guilt

Grief and guilt within this world is a feeling you will know all too well. Grief

Right now you either don’t know why you feel the way you feel or you may know exactly how you feel but feel like no one else is talking about it. Well, i’m here to talk about it with you. Grief is something that is unexpected when you learn your child has additional needs. It can hit you out of nowhere and not leave, or it come and go, always lingering in the background. Either way, it’s ok to say it out loud. This is not what you signed up for.

Being pregnant all those years ago I knew that there was something not ‘right,' my body constantly told me, I had aches and pains, I had moments where it would feel she wasn’t moving much and like I could go into labour at any moment. I consistently roped dan into taking me to hospital each time for a check-up and each time being told “she’s fine, juicy size but fine”. Turns out, my motherly instinct was constantly poking me to alert me of something, something wasn’t ‘right’.

Delilah was born healthy, I say healthy in the fact there was no tell tail signs of anything being wrong with her health. It wasn’t until Delilah was 5 months old that we began to go through a lengthy process of trying to figure it all out. At this time I was lost. Completely and utterly lost. I was spending more time with my daughter in the presence of professionals rather than family and friends. I was angry and upset… these feelings made me feel guilty. I couldn’t put my finger on it either, until one day a nurse who offered us respite (I never left the house, I couldn’t leave her) had told me I needed to grieve. To give into the grief and I will start to feel better.

Grieve? Why on earth would I grieve? Delilah is here… alive and kicking, I can see her beside me. Why would I grieve?

Here is why I would grieve… I would grieve because this is not the life I envisioned, For her us or our family. I saw her clear as day running wild, playing in the park, climbing the stairs and getting wrong. I saw her acting herself and being told ‘no’ just for dan to give in and give her it anyway. I saw it all, clear as day but that’s not what we are experiencing. We had swapped the life I promised myself, my family for something completely out of our comfort zone. I wasn’t one of those parents, that I watched on shows, that my heart bled for. I wasn’t strong enough to be.

But we didn’t get the choice. This was our new path. So I grieved, I felt all of the stages of grief. From shock and anger, bargaining to depression. We went through the full cycle. The last stage we haven’t quite got to yet, Acceptance. I will come back to that one later. Let yourself grieve. Give yourself that time and don’t feel guilty for it. It’s a natural instinct that occurs, a sadness but it is ok. It is normal. Guilt

It is so easy to take up all the impacts that happen in your life and see them as your fault. I sure did. I felt I must have done something wrong during pregnancy, ate the wrong thing or didn’t slow down. I felt guilty for absolutely everything. I know now that it isn’t my fault, Delilah was always destined to be special and unique. I am not spiritual or religious but do now believe it is what it is. After lots of test’s, studies and more I know that Delilah is the way she is because genetics say so. I had no controllable part in it. Then there is mum guilt, neglecting to spend time with your other children, neglecting your partner, neglecting your mental health and instead pouring all of your focus on one battle at a time.This before we even start to consider the 'normal' mum guilt. It can envelop your life and steer you away onto a different path entirely. It can take a lot to pull yourself up and out of the fog that is grief and guilt, I know this personally. I have lost my way, ended up on a different path and struggled. It’s hard to see things differently in these moments, but I can assure you that you will be ok. How you feel, whether it’s the same or different to me, you will be ok.

Only advice I have is too allow yourself to feel however you are feeling. Cry if you need to cry, seek support in whichever way you need, whether its family, friends, counselling medications or support from professionals. TAKE IT. It is there for a reason, these services are there to help you, so you can continue being amazing for your family. It isn’t giving up, it isn’t weak to ask for help, it is important to look after yourself. Tracey x

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