Walking With You- Guilt & Joy

One area so many mothers struggle with is guilt, especially those who experience the loss of a baby/child. We want to address this struggle in this post. It will help mothers quietly battling guilt for living life and experiencing joy to know they are not alone. Other moms silently battle this as well. Whether it is the startling first time you really laugh after losing your child, or whether you have experienced the healing balm of joy for years, share your thoughts on this week’s post.

If you are just joining, I've been participating with Sufficient Grace Ministries in their "Walking with You" series. My previous posts:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3

No one tells you how intertwined guilt & joy can be. That you can & will feel both at the same time. I am thankful I don't feel guilt over what happened. From the second we were told of Noah's diagnosis, the Dr was quick to tell us his condition is "one of those things". That it was not hereditary, was not caused by anything I/we did and was "just a fluke". Granted, I don't believe in the fluke theory, God knew what he was doing when he made Noah like he did in my womb. He was intentionally created to be special & set apart. At times, I feel like we were specially set apart to be given a child so unique.

But I still have struggled with guilt. I still wonder if I had lived a more perfect life, would Noah have lived. If I had had more faith and pleaded harder for a miracle, would Noah have been spared. I know ultimately neither is true. Though it's still human nature to doubt otherwise.

I admit, there was no joy for me for quite a long time after Noah died. I struggled just to breathe.  I do know I felt guilty for not trying to enjoy life more. But I also learned to stop feeling guilty by others and just embrace where God had me at. Yes, I felt guilt placed on me by others thinking I should be "better" but this was finally one time I learned to stop caring what others think and just listen to my Heavenly Father. In doing that & setting myself apart from the negative in my life, I felt a bit of the burden lifted.

I became pregnant with our rainbow baby just 3 months after Noah died. That brought on a whole new level of guilt. Not only was I scared of something going wrong, but I was also afraid of others thinking we were replacing Noah, which we could never do! My entire pregnancy with my rainbow was a rollercoaster of emotions. I had moments of joy in feeling blessed with my 6th baby, but I also was reminded daily of all I was longing  to experience with Noah.

I think a lot of my guilt in the following months was due in part to how society views infant death. There were times I wanted to embrace joy, but I felt if I fully let others see that I was doing that, they would think I was "over Noah" or "moving on", which we know neither can happen, so I didn't always let on how I was feeling for fear of my son being forgotten.

Talk about true joy & guilt being tied together when my rainbow baby was born early on Noah's 1st birthday, in the same hospital room & bed where he was born, lived & died!!! Wow!!! There are simply no words to describe it!

My rainbow baby has been the band-aide of joy as we call her. (her middle name is Joy in fact!) Though there has been melancholy in each & every one of her milestones she reaches. I can't say it's guilt, but just a bit of sadness in realizing how much we have missed out on experiencing with Noah.

BUT all that to say, Noah has given us many amazing gifts, one of which is he has opened my eyes to not only realizing but appreciating each & every little moment we experience with Olivia. I am more intentional in my parenting, hugging her more, cherishing the little things, enjoying being up with her in the middle of the night to cuddle or nurse, etc. So in those ways, Noah continues to be a part of our every day life and helps me fight the guilt & reminds me to focus on seeking the bits of daily joy.

I still do feel some guilt on the days my grief knocks me to my knees, and I'm sure I will always feel some sense of guilt until I die. Mainly because I feel judged when I still have "those" days 2 1/2 years later. But I am learning this is just all part of the journey. And God is using our story for something great!

A friend of mine just shared this & I thought how fitting!!


  1. Love how you said it just all part of the journey! So very true and how it will all fade away when we reach our destination. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, you have so encouraged me!

  2. I love your post and especially the quote at the end. It is so true! Thank you so much for sharing, and hugs to you!

  3. " He was intentionally created to be special & set apart. At times, I feel like we were specially set apart to be given a child so unique."... Loved that statement!

    There is a special healing after having a rainbow... Not replacement, but almost like you are allowed to fill the dreams that were taken with the loss. If that makes any sense?? :)

    I love that quote in the box, at the end of the post!

  4. Yes....I've been there...with guilt about not "having enough faith", being a good enough mom...guilt about feeling joy. I remember those early years. And, the judgment from others about how well or not well you are doing in your grief...or how long you've been grieving. Ugg!

    I wish I could just set everyone free from that. Because I know we are not supposed to be entangled. But, I also know it takes time for that peace to settle into grieving hearts sometimes. And, this is all still so fresh, really for you...even a couple years in.

    It's a journey indeed...and it's all part of it. You are walking this path with grace and beauty. I love the quote at the end. Sheila is so full of wisdom and her words are so true.

    Love and grace to you...

  5. I always seem to agree and get what you write so much. Right there with you!

  6. I understand the complexities of guilt and joy so well... having lost one twin and one survived. Thanks for linking up with us for International Bereaved Mother's Day posts!

  7. I feel guilty because for three years, I felt mad at my son for leaving me. Recently, I've stopped being mad.

    Not sure what I feel now but I understand that he isn't coming home. No.matter.what.I.do.

    I laughed last week. Really laughed. For the first time in a long time. That makes me happy. I don't want to be "absent" anymore. I feel like I'm coming out of the cloud.

    I need this, my husband needs this, my kids need this and Alexander needs this.

    Thanks for sharing. I hope you'll stop by and read the one that I linked up with (http://www.journeysofthezoo.com/2013/05/international-bereaved-mothers-day-2013.html).

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo


I enjoy hearing from each & every one of you! Thanks for taking the time to comment. :)