My Beloved and I were having a conversation about my lingering guilt the other day on our way home from our annual Thomas birthday mission (which was delayed a few weeks by a couple of circumstances beyond our control).
He doesn't understand, but I don't really expect him too. He thinks I blame myself, but I don't.
For 9 months I did everything I could to make a healthy baby and I trusted professionals who I had faith in. I did everything I possibly could.
I didn't know the pain I was feeling during labor might have been the start of the abruption. How could I? How could I possibly know the difference between two degrees of agony? I didn't know that taking Thomas off the monitors while they took me into OR for the C-section would be when the abruption would complete itself. If all the nurses and the OB missed the signs of the abruption, how could I have caught them?
I did all I could. I don't blame myself. I'm not at fault.
My body is.
And that's the guilt I can't let go of. That's the guilt I don't have any idea how to expunge from my heart and mind. From my soul.
It wasn't my fault, but it was still my fault. Me as an entity, as a thing physically designed to fulfill a biological role in procreation.
There was much grimacing, hair pulling and sighing as I tried to explain this to My Beloved.
He said he doesn't feel any guilt and just couldn't understand why I do.
I finally told him that, as much as I hate it when people say this kind of shit, if you haven't carried a child inside your body and then been unable to keep it safe and sound when it mattered most, you can't possibly understand the guilt of living in that body in the aftermath of the death and destruction it caused - the catastrophic failure.
You just can't.
To be quite frank, I'm a little frightened of this particular guilt because I don't know how to control it and I can't see it ever, every going away. I've talked myself out of the other guilt I used to feel. I comforted it all away long ago.
But this miserable specter of physical responsibility remains.
I can't make peace with my body for the way it failed us and as long as I can't make peace with it I will feel this agonizing guilt.
I want to walk away from it so badly it hurts. I can imagine what it must be like and how much farther along the path of healing I would be if I wasn't dragging this anvil of burden behind me every step of the way.
I envy My Beloved the peace he has knowing with such verifiable certainty that no part of him is to blame. Or ever was.