Mother Guilt

Jupiter emerges from a pile of driftwood. This is how I like to see him best - climbing around outside!

Last week Jupiter got glutened. I almost didn’t want to believe it, but it was plain as day. He had the bone pain, fatigue, and stomach ache with the nastiness that goes with it for three days. No one else was sick at all. Detective work commenced. It either happened on the last day of his OMSI Bridges camp, (touching all the same stuff as the other kids and using glue) or when his friends stayed the night and he showed them how to do outside chores. There is gluten in the rabbit feed and he handled the bunnies’ water bottles.

Putting him to bed he asked me so sweetly if it was always going to be this way, if a “little smudge” of gluten would always make him this sick. Unfortunately, the answer is probably “yes – and it may get worse.”

What seems so obvious now was not always so obvious. In my worst moments, I can’t help but beat myself up for not figuring it out before it became a crisis complete with surgery and a hospital stay. I wonder what was going on in my head. I had him allergy tested. I took him to doctors. I asked questions. But I accepted the “answers” given to me when I knew in my heart they weren’t quite right. I didn’t insist on every test known to modern and alternative medicine. I blamed my kid for having a bad attitude when in fact he was very sick. And I didn’t just do this for a week or two. I did this for years, and I let other people do it for years. My son grieves those years, and so do I.

I’d love to wrap this up with a snappy conclusion about accepting our past mistakes. I’d like to say I’ve forgiven myself and know I did my best. It would be nice to jump to the emotional place where I focus on the bright side of all this.

Truthfully I do see the bright side. I could write a book about how fantastic this whole experience has been, all the good that has come out of it. But there are times that self-doubt creeps in. I wonder what I’m missing now that will seem so obvious and so important in the future. Because now I know I can make mistakes – big mistakes – with my children’s health.

In this moment, I’m just another mom who feels like it’s somehow all my fault. I hurt, because my kid hurts. I think this goes with the territory.

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4 comments to Mother Guilt

  • I was told just today that feeling guilty means you have a strong moral fiber. It was encouraging to me and I hope it is to you, as well. I often wonder similar things about how I “missed” something. Ultimately, I realize God reveals things to me as I’m willing and capable of executing them. Rest in that! He has a plan for everything!

  • Cathy

    As the mother of children with allergies, from the mild kind to anaphylactic kind, I understand! I didn’t even realize how hard things were for my asthmatic daughter. And no matter how often we go in to the doctor, there is “no allergy” and “nothing wrong” with two of my kids – because “sometimes these things happen and no one knows why.” Right. Given my circumstances, I can’t make the food choices I believe I need to make, so I am trying to baby step into them, the best I can. MotherGuilt isn’t easy to shake, either. I so understand. However, I do want to say that the changes you have made will create a much better future for your family. I hope that the next time guilt tries to trip you up, please cling to the truth that you are doing what is right, to the best of your ability, and know that those changes inspire others. God bless you!

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