Mother guilt is neither helpful nor productive but that doesn’t stop it consuming me, and I’m sure many other mums, 90 per cent of the time. This week’s self reproaching comes in the form of why I didn’t realise something was wrong with Aidan sooner.
You see I’m currently 24 weeks pregnant, and the baby is moving inside me a LOT. Not every hour, but certainly I can feel him doing little tumbles inside of me every day.
The sad thing is I never felt Aidan move. At the time, having never been pregnant before I didn’t really know what it was supposed to feel like. There were twinges of something here and there but I wasn’t really sure it was him moving around, and besides all the baby books said every pregnancy was different and mothers feel their babies moving at different times. I was adamant I wasn’t going to be a highly strung, first time mother so I just pushed his lack of movement aside and didn’t give it a second thought.
Little did I know, Aidan was in serious trouble. It wasn’t until I visited my GP for a routine check up at 24 weeks that I discovered he had limited blood flow to the heart and brain, he hadn’t grown in weeks and he was struggling to stay alive. I know it’s not helpful but I can’t help wondering if Aidan had been my second child whether things would have been different. If I had been more aware of my body, would I have known something was wrong?
It certainly would not have changed the fact that he has Pearson Syndrome but it may have averted his prematurity. Without his prematurity we could have avoided a number of feeding, developmental and general health issues that have plagued him since birth. We could have given him a better start in life, a fighting chance at beating the odds.
It now leaves me feeling like a neglectful mum. With every movement from the baby, I do get a sense of reassurance that everything is ok, but I also feel a pang of guilt, a regular reminder that I failed my first born son so early in his life.
I knew when I became pregnant that feelings and thoughts would arise that I had never considered an issue so I’m not surprised that I’m feeling so uneasy. I guess to a large extent I had underestimated the emotional impact that having a premature baby would leave on me. For all mothers of severely premature babies, life might go on, but the scars go deeper than the caesarean.