Saturday, November 9, 2013

The deep hurt

I've said this before and I still feel the same - Abby seems to be growing up the fastest out of all of my kiddos.  And it is Abbigail that I get the most emotional about.  It's because of the deep hurt and guilt that has been in my heart for more than four years.

Let me try to explain:

As a newborn just days old, I started to have difficulty nursing Abby.  I  wasn't able to give her enough milk so I had to supplement her with formula.  Part of me tried to reason that although not ideal, it gave Brian a chance to feed her and enjoy the special bond that every Daddy wants with his baby as he prepared to deploy out again forcing him to miss the first 8 months of Abby's life.  To this day, I have a tremendous amount of guilt that maybe that some how I didn't give her the best possible start to her life AND that this somehow played a part in Abby's speech delays.

With Abby just 2 weeks old, school had begun and even though I was on unpaid maternity leave, I agreed to check in several times a week to pick up papers/essays to grade for my substitute.  Clearly I was not thinking clearly.  I was stressed with Brian gone, slightly depressed (although I just told myself to press and keep my head up), and realized far too late that I didn't get any alone, quality time with Abby where I could just relish in the moments of being with her.  So many regrets.  So much guilt.

At just 2 months old, I was scheduled to fly to VA to be in my best friend's wedding.  Two days before I was to leave, Abby started to get sick.  Despite not sleeping well, feeling well and eventually, not breathing well, my mother-in-law and I reluctantly both agreed for me to still make the weekend trip while the kids would stay with her.  Abby took a turn for the worse once I was gone and was admitted to the children's hospital.  I'm forever living with the guilt of making that trip and not being there at a very critical time.  Despite returning just a short time after leaving, Abby ended up spending a week in the hospital as a 8 week old baby while her Daddy was 1/2 way around the world and her Mommy was stressed to the max.  There is no words to describe to anyone what that feels like.  The only one who could possibly know was Brian who sat helpless in Afghanistan for updates. To make matters even worse, a family member criticized my choices as a mother despite not knowing what it was like to walk in my shoes, check to see how I was doing through it all, or even ask if there was anything they could help with. The scars on my heart are deep.  The guilt is tremendous still to this day.

I do know that as each day that has gone by, the deep hurt & guilt does fade.  I'm reminded by my three kiddos that they love me regardless of what kind of day I have had, how bad my hair looks, how messy I might think the kitchen is or them having to be in time out for a few minutes.  I also realize that these are my feelings, not anyone else's, and they are ones that I will eventually have to let go of. 

But as I've said so many times before, I hold on to feelings.  And that is why my deep hurt is still with me.

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