On Guilt

I think that since having the baby my predominant emotion, once they untangled themselves and became distinct, operable things again, was and is guilt.

It’s not even the comforting guilt religions hand out, like, oh, I am human and therefore I am unworthy. Nope, it’s a lot more foolishly personal. i look at his problems, and I think (despite medical evidence/opinions pointing to other uncontrollable causes), I shouldn’t have eaten so many cheese puffs during pregnancy.  Or I should’ve spent more time with him in the NICU — I should’ve just stayed there night and day. I should’ve pushed more for kangaroo care, despite the nurses warning it tired him out. I spent only 4 hours with him every day.

I’m not sure why my brain is finding it helpful to focus on these past events. Probably because they’re set down and unchangeable. It’s much easier to pick apart something when it’s no longer open to edit. It is absolutely easier than the day-to-day waiting to see whether Baby E will develop new seizures, or whether he’ll plateau and/or backslide in development. I am no good in the moment — I flail and say stupid things, I do not think well on my feet, which is a bad trait for a parent. I guess I have the necessary parental instincts, which are basically

SEE THREAT

GRAB BABY

RUN SCREAMING

How does one cultivate better extemporaneous/spontaneous thinking? One first probably has to give up one’s love of the post-mortem. And I have always loved history — this informed my librarian interests, too, in rare books and special collections and archives. Definition and classification are always comfortable.

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