Guilty as Charged.

I am a Queen of Guilt, I can manage to feel guilty about pretty much anything. Though looking at Brené Brown’s definition of guilt and shame, I think its probably more shame I feel. But rather than explaining the difference, I’ll continue using the word guilt (and you can go read her books and see for yourself if her definitions work for you).

Guilt goes hand in hand with those feelings of failure – bit of a vicious cycle really. It’s easy to feel guilty for not having achieved the desired outcome, but particularly so when there are so many variables at play. My guilt has increased even more so since we finished treatment. I’ve pretty much read all the different things one could/should try in an attempt to improve chances, so there are lots of opportunity for feeling guilty.

The thing is when going through this, there’s this common thought bandied about by people going through it, medical professionals, well meaning others – if you’re going to have to walk away from treatment and having children at some point, then you want to make sure you know you’ve done everything you could have. But for all that we did do, having reached this point – I don’t feel like I did everything I could have. I don’t feel like I did enough.

I feel guilty for having put on weight, for not having done enough exercise, or for having done the wrong exercise (which is probably partly why I put on weight as I was trying to manage the guilt at the time for doing too much or the wrong type of exercise!), for eating the wrong foods, for taking too many or not enough supplements, for not seeing a Chinese herbalist for longer, for not getting that health issue checked out more, for being too stressed, for not feeling grateful enough, for drinking too much coffee, for only drinking decafé coffee (those chemicals you know), for having too much dairy, not enough dairy, for not having enough acupucnture, for letting my hair air dry (a cold head’s bad ya know), for drinking cold drinks, for not drinking enough herbal teas, for eating too many carbs, for not eating enough vegetables, for wearing my Fitbit, for having my phone to close to my body, for eating microwaved foods, for not being grateful enough, for using the wrong skin care products, for getting my hair dyed, for  gardening without gloves, for drinking that wine, for not sleeping properly, for not doing enough therapy after our loses to remove stored emotions, for not detoxing, for not doing the fertility diet beforehand to ensure I was in the best form, for using electric blankets, for having showers too hot……the list goes on. I’ve even started feeling guilty for the things I did when I was younger (working shift work, using paints etc etc).

So for all you go through treatment saying you’d do anything if it meant you got pregnant, the reality is you never know whats going to make the difference – if anything. And me, well I look back on what I did do, and just see all my imperfections. I didn’t follow my healthy eating plan to the letter so maybe that’s why it didn’t work. I didn’t give up coffee, alcohol, carbs, sugar or processed foods 100% so maybe that was the issue. If only I’d been able to be healthy properly, maybe it’d have made a difference. Because we all want to know why right? If we had a reason for why we didn’t get our baby, then maybe it’d all make sense. Instead, I just feel guilty for all the things I didn’t do, which leaves me feeling, that all this was my fault.

 

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10 thoughts on “Guilty as Charged.

  1. I know there’s not much I can say to make you feel better but I don’t want you to feel guilty! It’s akin to people who exercise and have good diets who still have high cholesterol – sometimes our bodies are just rubbish at doing certain things – sucks like hell but don’t be guilty.

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  2. Oh boy! The guilt is a minefield. For a while there I wondered if i wasn’t pregnant because my house want clean enough, or because our dogs were too loud and the universe wasn’t letting it happy because we weren’t good enough to parent. It’s ridiculous but that’s brains for you.

    I saw someone asking about what they “should do” after there frost embryo transfer, apart from the usual pineapple and acupuncture, etc. It was good to hear someone say “none of those things will make the difference” because truly, if any of those things actually did work we would know about it!

    But just because we know this, doesn’t mean we *know* it

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    • Oh yes I’ve though similar things – if I can’t cope on little sleep I mustn’t be cut out to be a parent etc, Thanks Brains!
      yeah maybe some of things work for some pppl, but I guess we’ll never know what the perfect combo for any one couple is, if it purely is random luck.

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  3. Hello – thank you so much for your honest and moving account of your thoughts and feelings about how you are navigating this really difficult stage in your life. I really get what you are saying about the guilt and about all the why’s, the what ifs.., the if onlys. It’s a process I recognise only too well as 15 years ago I was where you are now. I know that nothing can make this better for you this instant but, what I can say is that, in time, it is possible to find a place where you can ‘let yourself of the hook’ and look back in admiration at what you did do, what you did get through and the resilience that pulled you through an incredibly emotionally and physically challenging process. Of course there are still times when I say ‘what if?’ or ‘I could have…”. But now those questions are drowned by a feeling of pride at what I and my husband got through. If I could give my past self some words of encouragement I would say, ‘In amongst all the understandable self-doubt and questioning take a moment to reflect on how amazing you are to have desired and hoped and loved enough to take you, your body and your relationship on that journey.’ My warmest thoughts and wishes. Deborah

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  4. Urgh, the guilt is awful. I felt it after my third failed IVF cycle. Even though I thought I was doing everything at that stage (Intralipids, sterioids, extra injections, supplements etc etc), I still feel annoyed at myself that I wasn’t strict enough about what I ate during the two week wait. Or sometimes I think it’s my fault for being selfish and choosing to fly home after my transfer to spend time with family instead of giving IVF 100%. But then you read about some women who do everything wrong yet somehow it still works for them, so I guess a lot of it is also down to randomness.

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