Thursday, 29 November 2012

Work in progress!

In previous blogs I've talked about 'ripping up the past' and 'letting go', both very necessary things to do if you want to live your life to your full potential. Neither of these things are easy to do but can be extremely beneficial and freeing if you can manage to do so. This week I've been reminded that in order to be free from the past there was something else very important that I had to do.

It's a reasonably well known fact that the stages of grieving are anger, followed by guilt then, finally acceptance. How long it takes to go through each of these stages varies greatly and sometimes people find themselves 'stuck' in one of the stages, preventing them from being able to move on. For me it was guilt.

Losing a child, even as a baby, is devastating. You've not only lost a much longed for addition to your family but also the future. I'm sure I'm not the only expectant mother who has whiled away the hours dreaming of what this precious life growing inside you will be like. What colour of eyes or hair will they have? What will they want to be when they grow up? When this future is taken away from you it leaves a huge chasm that is filled initially with pain so great that you think that you'll never recover. But my blogs are mainly about 'new beginnings' and I am here to tell you that you can!

It's taken me a long time, but I've eventually come to believe the statement above. Getting there was a process and part of it required me to forgive myself.  Why did I feel guilty? It wasn't as if I'd deliberately done anything I shouldn't. I had an explanation, a reason why it had happened. I'd no reason to think that it was my fault-but I did! I know now with hindsight that I was emotionally in no fit state to think rationally and at the time I felt it was my fault as it was because of my Lupus that these precious angels hadn't made it. Because of my Lupus my body had produced antibodies that had attacked their hearts and ultimately caused their deaths! I know now that this was totally irrational, but for a long time it felt very real.

With the help of a brilliant counsellor, gradually I began to accept that it wasn't my fault. I hadn't asked to have Lupus and I had embarked on each pregnancy assured by the doctors that the Lupus wouldn't be a problem! Accepting it wasn't my fault was the easy part, the hard part was forgiving myself. This however was crucial to my being able to move on.

Feeling guilty isn't only confined to bereavement. There are many reasons for us to feel guilty, in fact it seems to be the default position for many of today's modern mothers. Tragically it's also common for victims of crime to feel guilty, as if somehow they brought it on themselves. I'm sure too that, like me, many others have made mistakes or done things that they're not proud of. I've said it before and I'll say it again we're not perfect, we're a work in progress. Being able to accept yourself as a 'work in progress' and learning not to be too hard on yourself can be a life-changing achievement!

Guilt is a heavy burden to carry around. I once heard a song where the lyrics said
'Loneliness is a common thing for people who've done something wrong enough to never have the courage to admit it to even their closest companions in life!'
I hadn't done anything wrong, but I could relate to the feelings of loneliness when I thought I had!

Learning to forgive myself is a life-long commitment. Unless I suddenly become perfect I'm probably going to be doing it a lot! Learning to forgive yourself in adverse circumstances isn't easy, but in my experience it's a vital part of being able to move on to 'new beginnings'.

Why white tulips? In Victorian times the white tulip was  regarded as a sign of forgiveness. Next time I need to forgive myself I'll buy some to remind me.

No comments :

Post a Comment