On reflection I think I’m doing pretty well with not being angry at other people and recognising intentions when people get it a little wrong. Maybe I’m still working on forgiving people for having healthy babies when mine died, but I’m definitely not feeling as bitter as I imagined I could.
I’ve never been someone who is overly self-critical. Sometimes I would even say I am too easy on myself. Since Isobel died though I have experienced billions of thoughts about something I did wrong or something I should have done that I didn’t. However I think overall, I am successful enough at noting the thought, applying some compassion and rationality, and letting it go.
I think my greatest guilt has been about my reaction when Isobel was first born. I was traumatised from grief, exhausted from labour, paranoid from gas and air (horrible stuff) and sadly I did not have the rush of love that many mothers – even those of stillborn babies – report. Isobel was placed on my chest immediately after she was born. She was warm and clammy but so unnaturally still. All I could think was that she looked like a dead baby, and honestly, I didn’t want her on me. Even at the time I felt so guilty for this reaction that I didn’t voice my thoughts, and held her without really wanting to, for the excruciating hour it took the midwife to repair the damage caused by her exit from my body. After my husband took Isobel and I recovered a little, I was able to look at her differently, to see how beautiful she was and fall in love with her. We then spent the next four days fighting over who got to hold her! I’m so glad I was given the time to overcome my initial reaction. I do still feel guilty sometimes for having this initial reaction at all though. When I look at the pictures like this one of her when she was first born I think she looks perfect, but that was not what I saw at the time and I know I have to forgive myself for that.