If you are just joining, I've been participating with Sufficient Grace Ministries in their "Walking with You" series. My previous posts:
No one tells you how intertwined guilt & joy can be. That you can & will feel both at the same time. I am thankful I don't feel guilt over what happened. From the second we were told of Noah's diagnosis, the Dr was quick to tell us his condition is "one of those things". That it was not hereditary, was not caused by anything I/we did and was "just a fluke". Granted, I don't believe in the fluke theory, God knew what he was doing when he made Noah like he did in my womb. He was intentionally created to be special & set apart. At times, I feel like we were specially set apart to be given a child so unique.
But I still have struggled with guilt. I still wonder if I had lived a more perfect life, would Noah have lived. If I had had more faith and pleaded harder for a miracle, would Noah have been spared. I know ultimately neither is true. Though it's still human nature to doubt otherwise.
I admit, there was no joy for me for quite a long time after Noah died. I struggled just to breathe. I do know I felt guilty for not trying to enjoy life more. But I also learned to stop feeling guilty by others and just embrace where God had me at. Yes, I felt guilt placed on me by others thinking I should be "better" but this was finally one time I learned to stop caring what others think and just listen to my Heavenly Father. In doing that & setting myself apart from the negative in my life, I felt a bit of the burden lifted.
I became pregnant with our rainbow baby just 3 months after Noah died. That brought on a whole new level of guilt. Not only was I scared of something going wrong, but I was also afraid of others thinking we were replacing Noah, which we could never do! My entire pregnancy with my rainbow was a rollercoaster of emotions. I had moments of joy in feeling blessed with my 6th baby, but I also was reminded daily of all I was longing to experience with Noah.
I think a lot of my guilt in the following months was due in part to how society views infant death. There were times I wanted to embrace joy, but I felt if I fully let others see that I was doing that, they would think I was "over Noah" or "moving on", which we know neither can happen, so I didn't always let on how I was feeling for fear of my son being forgotten.
Talk about true joy & guilt being tied together when my rainbow baby was born early on Noah's 1st birthday, in the same hospital room & bed where he was born, lived & died!!! Wow!!! There are simply no words to describe it!
My rainbow baby has been the band-aide of joy as we call her. (her middle name is Joy in fact!) Though there has been melancholy in each & every one of her milestones she reaches. I can't say it's guilt, but just a bit of sadness in realizing how much we have missed out on experiencing with Noah.
BUT all that to say, Noah has given us many amazing gifts, one of which is he has opened my eyes to not only realizing but appreciating each & every little moment we experience with Olivia. I am more intentional in my parenting, hugging her more, cherishing the little things, enjoying being up with her in the middle of the night to cuddle or nurse, etc. So in those ways, Noah continues to be a part of our every day life and helps me fight the guilt & reminds me to focus on seeking the bits of daily joy.
I still do feel some guilt on the days my grief knocks me to my knees, and I'm sure I will always feel some sense of guilt until I die. Mainly because I feel judged when I still have "those" days 2 1/2 years later. But I am learning this is just all part of the journey. And God is using our story for something great!
A friend of mine just shared this & I thought how fitting!!