A mama's Guilt: Preeclampsia Awareness Month

What is it about GUILT? Women in general are predisposed to being GUILTY of all things. We're made to feel guilty for the way we look, how we act, whom we serve and how we serve others. WHY??

When did we start feeling guilty? During our childhood when we wanted to grow up one way and our parents/peers/society told us we shouldn't even think about those things?

During our prepubescent years when we started feeling those darn feelings for the opposite sex?
Or why our bodies isn't what society wants it to be?

During our late teens, early twenties when we wanted to get away from those things/people that shaped us and find that the world really isn't as close minded or the same as we were made to believe it was? And we feel guilty about all those years we've formed our assumptions about other people and how we've treated them?

Do we start feeling guilty during our years in wedded bliss when the subject of choosing a career and motherhood sets in? Then damned if you choose one or the other. Or BOTH??

Or during playgrounds/playgroups when our parenting skills are brought into question? I believe in organics/attachment/cloth/breast/bottle/insert-opinion-here too, but there are more important things in MY LIFE that I care more passionately about. And I refuse to feel guilty about those passions and why I chose what I chose.

The whole world has an opinion on parenting and mothers...... well, WOMEN, in general that truly..... if we are brought up believing that we SHOULD FEEL GUILTY about EVERYTHING.... then we are never going to be happy. We are always going to wonder all these what-ifs and all these choices that arose once upon a time.

I'm about to be 35 in a couple of months. I spent X amount of money, X amount of years in college and I'm proud of my accomplishments. I spent the due diligence of working back the X amount of student loans I owed, spent X amount of time figuring out what I wanted to be as a boss, as an employee, as a public health official, and I'm proud of my accomplishments in the X amount of time I spent behind a windowless room.

I don't need to feel guilty that I spent the majority of my yesterday tackling piles of laundry, and then then making a fort out of couch cushions.

You only get to see snippets of my day, or facets of who you think I am, and I am supposed to feel guilty about the assumptions society formed about me.

I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for a while. I was raised to feel guilty about EVERYTHING...... but we have an answer to guilt: Confess and Pray.

So here is my motherhood confession:
I was obese, unhealthy, not very active and had a love affair with Dr. Pepper.

And then I got pregnant in 2011. I started walking after work and cut down on the Dr. P. I even added more fruits and vegetables in my diet. When I was diagnosed at 26 weeks, I stopped walking, as was recommended, and focused on taking everything that has salt away (NEWSFLASH: EVERYTHING HAS SALT). At the time I had her, I had barely gained the ten pounds recommended for those in the obese category.

I have read about Preeclampsia. I have read about Placenta Abruption. One of the risk factors for both is high blood pressure. One of the complications of obesity is high blood pressure.

So of course, I felt guilty. I felt guilty putting myself and my baby at risk. I felt guilty about the choices I made and what I've put my body to. 

According to the CDC, National Institute of Health (NIH) and written on the Preeclampsia Foundation - the causes of preeclampsia is unknown. The Health powers that be do not know the etiology of Preeclampsia. They use to believe that by delivering the baby early, you can "cure" preeclampsia. But then, what about the women who get postpartum preeclampsia?

My GUILT of what happened transpired to my FEAR of having another experience. Another baby. So at the very beginning of her life, I was already guilty about a LOT of THINGS.

And the thing about guilt is... that if you let it... it CONSUMES you. I could feel guilty, everyday. I wish I was healthier. Why did I not quit working as soon as they started to suspect something? Why did I insist that I didn't need help?

What if? Why didn't I? If only I did blank. Maybe she wouldn't have been born early. Maybe my blood pressure wouldn't have sky rocketed. Maybe there would be no protein spilling anywhere. Maybe my placenta wouldn't start detaching........ so many maybes.

AND THEN what if they didn't see anything? What if I wasn't monitored the way I was? What if my Ellie died before I got to meet her? What if??

It WILL DRIVE YOU INSANE. All these variables and all these things you BELIEVE you have CONTROL of and things you could have CHANGED........ but then HOW WOULD YOU KNOW the other side of the story? How could you possibly know the outcome of all these possible what-ifs?

And then something wonderful happened......I confessed my GUILT and got down on my knees and prayed. I confessed that I was guilty of all these things: sloth, gluttony, stubbornness, pride and an infinite number of sins. There is no arguing with what happened. There is only gratitude that I am here. That SHE IS HERE and NOTHING else (all these variables) MATTERS.

I am not going to let GUILT get in the way of the wonders that is her childhood. I am not going to let GUILT enter my home and fill it with negativity. Instead, I want to be surrounded by her laugh, her awe and her kisses.

But GUILT resurfaces over and over. In 2015, I found out I was pregnant. I felt GUILTY about not wanting to be pregnant. I saw friends and family going through miscarriages and here I was, not wanting this little bitty life forming inside of me.

I didn't care what I put into my body. I ate whatever I wanted - mostly, I craved meat. I didn't lessen the caffeine, didn't walk.....and then felt GUILTY that I didn't care. I lost so much weight during my pregnancy that I wasn't even in my pre-pregnancy weight at the time I had him.

I need to do better for my family, health wise.....and part of that is to focus on growth and acceptance, and let go of the guilt

For more information about Preeclampsia, please visit www.preeclampsia.org

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