Saturday, February 21, 2009

Lesson #1: Letting go of the guilt

This is the start of a series that'll probably last my whole lifetime. I want to record lessons I'm learning from being Carver's mom. One of the first things I learned was about guilt. When Carver was just months old, I worried about how he wasn't smiling at me. He didn't do that normal infant behavior of watching your face, opening his mouth and cooing along with you. I kept waiting and waiting and FINALLY he did it once right around Christmas. He was 2 months old. He didn't engage with me often, even after that point. This was the first time GUILT started to sneak in.

I worried that because he was number 3, I hadn't spent as much time talking to him as I had with the girls. He spent more time in his bouncy seat, less time just being looked at - all that firstborn stuff. I swear I just sat around and watched Lydia grow! :) As Carver continued to miss milestones, there was lingering guilt and worry mixed together. That somehow I'd not been nurturing his development enough, that if I'd done something differently he'd be on track.

Even though I worried, there came to be a stronger sense of peace that Carver was just Carver, that I didn't cause it. I'd been careful during pregnancy, his birth was fairly uneventful. He'd been posterior, I hadn't had an epidural - but otherwise, no warning signs. I really believe that the Lord was helping me feel that it wasn't my fault.

A scripture that has become really meaningful to me is John 9: 1-3.

1 And as Jesus passed by, he saw a man which was blind from his birth.
2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?
3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

What a beautiful reminder that disabilities aren't punishment! And that our lives are in the hands of God, that He has a plan for us. When I reflect on all I've learned and all the ways I've been stretched (both as a mom and as a person), I see that the works of God have been made manifest in my life, in Carver's life, and in the lives of so many more. And I know that everything is going to be okay.

So the lesson I learned early on about letting go of the guilt has continued to be important. You have to let go of the worry that you've CAUSED the problem, but I also have to continue to remind myself that I'm doing the best I can. I'm not a perfect mother to my typically developing children, I'm not ever going to be a perfect mother to Carver. And my faith in God comes into play here, as well. I know that Carver wasn't accidentally sent to our family, that the Lord knows that I can do this. I can be his mom, I can be good enough. That gives me courage to let go of the guilt and keep trying to be better.


Levi, Christine, and Gideon said...

Thanks, Rachael, I needed that. It is so easy to feel guilt and inadequacy as a mother. Because of your blog, the lessons you are learning will bless not only you and your family, but so many others as well!

Kimball said...

Thanks for posting on here, and passing along your thoughts! You always have such great messages.