Laying blame on mothers seems to be an "easy" out when their children are born with varying medical conditions or disabilities. I have had the questions and statements, "You must have done this when you were pregnant," or even, "There was a study saying if a mother took this medication or ate this food it would explain what your child is going through right now."
I've had so many well-meaning and rash comments like these ones. But what those people don't know is the hurt, tears and guilt caused. When I was pregnant I choose to go to extreme measures with taking the "correct" vitamins, eating the right foods and following medical advice. During my first pregnancy, I drove my husband crazy with my obsessed eating of the "right" foods. Second time around, I learned more ways to adapt while eating what I felt was right for me.
Words hurt; they come back at me when I am tired, depressed, sleep-deprived or struggling with a hard, long day. Those days that you feel it is impossible to continue, but you do, and wonder how on earth it was possible. The guilt I feel that I could have done something to prevent my daughter's disabilities or my son's minor health challenge (now fixed) haunt me. I would do anything to fix either challenges, and I do. It is late at night that the words sneakily return and disable reasoned thinking. The ceiling becoming a notice board for my thoughts, all pushing for my attention. "Could I have done more?" Then, I tell myself, "Don't torture yourself," but I still do over and over again.
As I write, I await my son's final minor surgery and words of, "You should have done more," are stuck on repeat in my mind. I can even visualize the person who said it. It's not worth the fight, I walk away least I say something I will regret. But then, I think of those people whose words bounce in my mind attempting to destroy my peace, and I realize most of them would not have seen their child held -- done to perform medical procedures -- numerous times, or seen the look of fear and questioning of, "Mommy don't do this; I trusted you," while the gas mask forces them to sleep for surgery. It never becomes easier. Or the missed moments of normalcy.
It is those challenging times my heart reaches out to love my children even more desperately trying to forget the words of hurt and striving forward. I know it is hard for outsiders to understand and comprehend the challenges we face, but laying blame or sharing new ideas of research adds to the burden. I know I've done all I can as a mother, but the words that fall off your tongue do affect and do hurt. People often look for a cause of a problem. They fail to see that sometimes it is just the way it is or just bad luck.
Words can hurt.
Words can heal.
What did yours do today?