Guilt, part of the human experience. Universal and timeless, as the Shakespeare quote so clearly recognized.
How do I shed it? I feel like it has the power to send me into a psychotic episode. I actually think about that quote a lot lately. I mean, I’ve always have been fascinated by Lady Macbeth. If you were to ask me, before all this, who my all time favorite literary character was, I would have told you Lady Macbeth. A powerful woman, yet totally weak and emotionally charged, just fascinating, in my opinion. But now the fact that Shakespeare captures this facet of the human experience so clearly and poignantly, has me spell-bound for different reasons.
Mondays are my day of mourning, so you will have to bear with me. This has become effective for me so far, to kind of allow all the feelings to be there and very present, and even overwhelming, but only on Mondays. On the other days, I have to actively try not to feel those feelings. I simply say I reject them today…I will deal with them Monday. It makes monday hard, but the rest of the week easier.
So anyway, back to guilt. It can really be overwhelming, and I guess a large part of it really ties into what you believe about when life begins. And I have always believed that it begins at conception. That soul and body become fused at that moment. I’m not opening this up for debate, it is of course a mystery, so everyone will have a different belief on it. That’s fine. It’s just that you must know my belief, because it shapes my experience of this. I guess it also has to do with my feelings on the pregnancy overall. Meaning, I was joyous about having a baby, I truly wanted and loved her. So what was I thinking?
Before I had the procedure done, I kind of shut off and when on autopilot. I started telling myself things like, it’s only the potential for life, it is not life. And that I could choose not to suffer through this. I tried to convince myself I wouldn’t feel guilt, because I was doing this for the “right” reason. Not simply because it was inconvenient to carry on, but because it was life threatening. I figure it doesn’t get more “right” than that.
Well, it turns out, I was wrong. Very. No matter what altruistic reason I come up with, none of them are “right” enough to make me feel ok about what I did. And the fact of the matter is, I really wanted and loved that baby. And I feel, deep in my gut, that I did something wrong. Especially for me, and all that I feel makes up my being. I do very much feel that there is blood on my hands. I am thankful that the state is not coming after me, to prosecute it, but I feel like I would understood if they did. (How’s that for being real and putting it all out there on the net)
So what do I do to cope with this guilt? I try to tell myself that I had an experience that was beyond the normal human experience. That by myself I am very very weak (and even a little emotionally charged) and I have now recognized this. Recognizing my weakness (or humanness) has sparked a spiritual journey in me, that I have been neglecting. While growing my family and caring for everyone, I was neglecting my “me” time. But when I did have “me” time, I used it as an excuse to pamper myself, (or go shopping, gym, etc.) when really I should be using it to make sure that I am cared for and growing emotionally, spiritually and physically. We are after-all spiritual beings. So although this experience comes with a lot of pain and guilt and overwhelming sadness, there has been an awakening in me. Sometimes in my best moments, I can allow that to offset the feelings of guilt. Like they sort of neutralize each other. But not really.
At some point, I think I will make a conscious effort to shed the guilt. Actively reject it-or at least save it for Mondays, metaphorically you know? I think I haven’t done it yet, because it would feel like I was betraying the baby, by doing that right now. I carry the guilt like my penance and a badge of my mourning. But I know, that really can’t be the plan for me, to always carry it, because I would go mad, like Lady Macbeth. And the fast and hard truth is: I am here, baby is not. I am truly sorry for that. I would switch places in a heartbeat, if I could, but I simply can not, despite all my prayers to the contrary.
Recognizing all that helps a bit.
I do keep in at the front of my mind that I must and need to find a way to go on and still experience joy. That it is my God-given right, not matter how unworthy of it I am. So while I can’t exactly conciously shed the guilt, I do conciously try to feel joy, Because that too is truly and wholly a part of the human experience.