I see the problem here as guilt and denial. One feels guilt in incredible ways, and then lives in a state of denial about how all these other things are at fault. The denial is also, therefore, a denial that they had the primary role in their own life events. Rather than accepting that something just occurred and everyone was there and had a choice, there is a need to blame. Rather than blame oneself and admit the guilt that is plaguing oneself, one then opts to direct all or primary responsibility onto somebody else. It’s a coping mechanism. It goes a little something like…
Natural birth is at fault– it’s not that great, medical advancements are far better, what’s so great about vaginal drug free birth anyway, you aren’t winning a medal for it, it’s killing women and babies and is archaic and stupid.
Midwives are at fault— they aren’t educated, aren’t properly licensed, mine should have known I was in trouble.
It’s never up to the woman. Do you see? You can never “blame the mother”, or use “blame the mother mentality”… which is cried if anyone tries to further examine the mother’s choices in the event in light of tragedy. If blame is going to be placed at all, these are the questions that we need to be asking. Sorry. It’s never her choice, her responsibility, her consequences. It’s always somebody else. She is automatically innocent (and how dare you, btw), and somebody else is most definitely guilty. You see, I’m not just saying question the “guilt” of everyone… I’m saying consider that everyone is innocent. Blame usually doesn’t have to take place at all, but if you are pointing the finger at me or damaging other people, someone has to step in and point out the accountability here. It’s gone too far, too long. There are worse things than blaming the mother. You could be blaming people who are just as accountable, less accountable, or not accountable at all.
For example, when a practitioner does their best to provide the service you have hired them for, that’s all you can ask of them. The rest is up to you.
IF you are present at a birth and you feel something is not right, it is your duty to yourself and child and all involved to act accordingly. IF something goes wrong, and you always had the final say, you must own up to your part in things. It is an admission of the truth and the first step to moving forward in a healthy way. As I see it, all normal-intelligence adults available are responsible in a time of need. This does not all rest on the shoulders of one. When you hire a midwife as your naturally-minded caregiver, it is not so she can take the fall in the event of misfortune. If one feels that way, one should not hire a midwife. If they have committed an indisputable count of negligence or abuse, obviously I think they deserve blame. However, if you still had a choice and didn’t make it or take it, you shoulder some of that responsibility. You have a voice.
[Recently I heard a troll say that the reason midwives should be properly licensed and insured is so that if a tragedy occurs, a lawyer would be willing to take the case because there would actually be money worthwhile to come of it. Ah, I see… So, everyone, get an OB so that if your child dies, you can properly get a lawyer and sue and at least get some $$$ from it. ] Good reason to change your birth plan, natural childbirthers.
So no, I am NOT advocating blame, but when I see projections and misdirections of anger, rage, hate, and guilt, I think we need a reality check. Midwives are trained professionals, but they DON’T know everything. Neither do OBs for that matter. The most important piece they are missing is YOU and your intuition. People, no matter how educated, make mistakes. It’s not all homicide, bloodshed, and manslaughter. Sometimes no matter how much it is KILLING you inside, these mistakes are completely innocent. You are ALL accountable for your choices. No ONE single person takes the fall, and no one always has to take the blame, automatically. A death should not automatically be assumed as the fault of anyone. Investigate, ask questions, but accept reality and live in it rather than create a false one where you are less accountable. Sooner or later, no matter how skilled a person is, they are going to witness a tragedy. Sometimes, these things just happen. You hate to hear it? Yeah, it sucks, but it’s true.
No, don’t blame yourself, don’t beat yourself up, but don’t do those things to ME either. Be brave, face your problems head on. It’s cowardly to direct the hurt you feel you deserve to instead hurt others. I would never tell a mother how accountable she was in her child’s own death… until she starts pointing the finger at others. Those who believe it’s always the other guy’s fault, those who believe that with their pain comes a sense of entitlement, those are the only folks who need a reminder that they were also an adult in that room and also capable of making a choice. It’s something that could and should go without saying most of the time, unless you keep shoving it in the world’s face in order to create suffering and remove your own accountability in the process. My theory: you don’t hate me, you hate yourself for not making the choice you knew was right. I wish I could magically take away your pain, but I can’t. You need to get serious professional help if you are trolling the internet and calling it “helping others”.
Guilt, you see… it’s a destroyer. It will change your whole world. Friends become enemies, demons become friends. Things you used to believe in become false. You lose faith in whatever God you may have previously claimed. Activities that harm others become the norm. They do things which cause more pain for themselves and those who come into contact with them. Others who love you feel put out or neglected by you. You are withdrawn, putting on a fake face to be acceptable in society while inside you feel you are someone else. You don’t have to suffer alone, and you don’t have to live with this intense pain your whole life. Your children, living and deceased, would not want that for you. You all deserve better in life.
People reject healing when they think the hurt seems insurmountable, or they are undeserving. This comes from self-loathing. A partly aware admission of accountability which translates as guilt says, “how could I let this have happened to my baby?”, and hate and beating yourself up follows. Guilt is a real bitch, but you had it coming, or so the logic goes. So, one resigns to a life of pain and guilt and blame, because they don’t see any other path clearly. They even think it would be disrespectful to the memory of their baby to NOT feel this way. I suggest that the worse disrespect is the mistreatment of other women, mothers, and babies in the process of your rage and guilt. Even the very midwife deemed the culprit is probably not so worthy of hate. Granted, it would take a lot of forgiveness to ever feel that way. Baby steps.
I’m telling you, people, there’s an imbalance here, and it’s not healthy and it’s not right. It’s toxic– to your mind, probably your body, and your soul, and it’s affecting others. You want consideration for your feelings and it’s been given to a fault, but even through the pain, you need to offer your consideration to your fellow (wo)man, because we all have pain, and you aren’t the only one (and this includes infant loss). It does NOT have to be this way, so ugly and nasty and cruel.
In any case, hate (which guilt has produced) is not productive or conducive to goodness or healing for you, or anyone. Some think healing from baby loss is impossible– so why bother, right? If healing is impossible, why try to “help” anyone who has lost? I hear that a lot, about reaching out to others who have lost, as if that means anything. “I’m here for you.” What comfort is that with a dead baby? If nothing can fix it, why the community? Because you are looking for understanding and looking for something to feel even a tiny ounce better than the loneliness of your grief. You are living with the unreasonable burden of guilt. And let’s be real, here– it’d needn’t be. Other women have gone through losses and not reached the same conclusions. It is possible, but you have to want it. Your pain is not reality, it’s just your reality. There are other truths out there to explore if you would only let yourself. If you can accept this as true, you can also begin to see how other realities of other people– loss moms and other moms– are their truths. The healing stories, the stories of love and overcoming pain, are the ones that are going to be of service to people. We need to spread those, promote those, give hope, and help people get better. Instead of resisting those, maybe you could listen to those and when you are ready, believe in yourself once again and your ability to let go of guilt and have peace.
Quit letting your guilt destroy you, who you were, what you want to be for your family, and who you have become. Break the chains and ties that keep you part of a destructive lifestyle. Live and let live. Find the path to end bitterness and guilt now so that when you are an old lady and preparing to leave this life, you can look back with fondness and gratitude rather than wrath, and you will be surrounded by children and grandchildren and more, who lovingly embrace who you are and their time with you. You cannot get a dead baby back, but you cannot get back lost time, either. Every hour you’ve spent persecuting strangers on the internet is lost time. Pain is an addiction, an obsession. Find the road to recovery. I may never know your pain and I hope to never have to, but I do care about your well being and want you to find peace and joy. If I were in your shoes, I’d want someone to do the same thing for me.