Category: Guilt Fault Blame

Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter
Share on tumblr
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on print
Share on email

Guilt Fault Blame

Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: It wasn't your fault. Rewritten: I understand emotions can be complicated, and I'm never going to tell you how you should feel. I am here though, if you ever want to talk about things. I will always be an ear to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

It wasn’t your fault

If you truly want to support someone who feels guilt, fault, or blame after the death of their child, then listen, acknowledge, and mirror back to them. This is so much more powerful and authentic than any glib phrase. Please don’t tell them “It wasn’t your fault”

Wildflowers over Te Ti Bay (Miranda Hernandez)

“It’s Not Your Fault”

I think people are conditioned to tell bereaved parents it isn’t their fault because they are worried. If parents blame themselves, what might they then do?

"Pregnant woman with nurse"; close-up of pregnant woman's stomach and nurse with hand on pregnant woman's shoulder (Science Photo Library)

Requests of a Bereaved Mother for All Prenatal Providers

After my son died at the end of a term pregnancy in 2017, I created this list of things I would like to see done differently in prenatal care, both before & after loss. These are things that would have made a difference in my pregnancy. These things might have kept my son alive.

Famous rock formation in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. The feature is called Piercy Island, and is known for the "Hole in the Rock," but it looks like an elephant to me (Miranda Hernandez)

Elephants and Well-Meaning Words – “It’s not your fault”

Let’s try thought experiment: Don’t think of an elephant. What are you thinking of right now? Of course, an elephant. Why? Because thoughts don’t work that way. Now think about this analogy as it applies to telling bereaved parents that their child’s death was not their fault.

Sunset in California (Miranda Hernandez)

073 – Sun, Dec 31, 2017, 5:10 PM

These tools were available to me and I chose not to use them. I didn’t choose for you to die, but my choices did not save you. I wish that I had saved you.

Pinecrest Lake, Pinecrest, California (Miranda Hernandez)

070 – Sat, Dec 23, 2017, 9:12 PM

I think of all the signs the providers brushed off. I think of the other signs I just didn’t see. My heart hurts. I wish I could go back in time. I wish I had saved you.

Lakeside in Incline Village, North Lake Tahoe, Nevada (Miranda Hernandez)

041 – Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 8:30 PM

One year ago yesterday I drove to the doctor’s office — nervous, excited, and full of such hope. I never expected you to happen so quickly, but I was ready. You were my dream. 

031 – Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 12:16 AM

I don’t know how long you were struggling. I felt your movements, I thought you were excited. I thought you were getting ready to come. I wish I had known. I wish I had saved you.

028 – Wed, Aug 16, 2017 at 6:07 PM

My worst regret is drinking half a can of Red Bull on those mornings I struggled to get out of bed. In that reality, I know it’s not my fault. I loved you more than life itself.

Adrian's Elephant on Keālia Beach in Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

18 June 2018, 8:47 pm; Living in the Calendar after Loss

I don’t think too much about actual dates, and so I missed the anniversary of my 39th week. And this is important to me, because it’s the date my providers had pushed for induction. And I wonder — if I had chosen differently, would I have a living child?

Pacific Ocean - Feature

014 – Thu, Jun 29, 2017 at 6:53 PM

I don’t understand it, little one. I don’t understand how you could be here, and then not. I don’t understand how you’re still in my belly, but you’re already gone. I don’t understand how the world makes sense anymore. I never got to hold you, and I miss you so much. My heart is broken.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Big Sur, California (Miranda Hernandez)

22 May 2018 – I only write to ghosts. You must be one of them.

You were more than pain. You swept into my life and your presence promised happiness. And I hated that, because happiness wasn’t something I wanted to know. And I hate it more now, standing here, awake and oh so lonely. And this pain isn’t comforting. And this new life feels broken.

Sleeping Giant Trail 1 - Feature

25 Feb 2018 – That Day

I hate talking about these memories, because everyone is quick to tell me that it wasn’t my fault. Screw that! I don’t care about fault. I want to share my story. I want to remember the last week of my son’s life. I want to share these things that complicate how I feel about his death. I want to remember that this experience wasn’t entirely sunshine and roses. I want to remember what was real.

A Letter to My Belly (Write Your Grief) | overlaid on image of Miranda making a heart on her belly (Synch Media)

24 Feb 2018 – A Letter to My Belly

You sheltered him for nine months. You expanded with him, kept him safe. I watched you grow stretch marks, tiger stripes. I talked to him through you. I never thought to say thank you. Thank you. Thank you for holding my son, for cradling him even in death. He only ever knew love in you.

Keālia Beach 2 - Feature

20 Feb 2018 – Unspoken

I know what you want to talk about. I know how it pains you when others try to chase your words away. It isn’t a question of guilt. It’s fact — if you had chosen to listen, I would be alive.

Title: My Personal Experience with Grief | overlaid on an image of Miranda in Kaua'i (Luna Kai Photography)

29 Jan 2018 – Grief

I used to think that grief was this sad time that followed the death of someone you loved. I never imagined it was really this new layer, this new identity. I never imagined the loss I was grieving would include the loss and rebirth of me.

Explore more of Adrian's Elephant

Scroll to Top