Title: Guilt, Fault, & Blame | overlaid on image of fountain in San Francisco (Miranda Hernandez)
(Miranda Hernandez)

Guilt, fault, and blame are common feelings after loss, especially after the loss of a child. Many parents wonder if their actions could have made a difference, or if they should have made different choices during pregnancy. This is all normal.

While many people have been conditioned to tell bereaved parents, “it’s not your fault,” I won’t do that. I think it is important to honor and hold space for all your feelings, even the “negative” ones. Only if and when you are ready will it be time to try to think differently.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

18 June 2018, 8:47 pm

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?

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026 – Sun, Aug 13, 2017 at 6:17 AM

I don’t know what I could have done differently. You were the very best part of me.

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.

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.

Esquimalt Lagoon, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada (Miranda Hernandez)

037 – Tue, Sep 26, 2017 at 3:02 PM

Is it possible this isn’t my fault?

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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. 

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Sanddollars on Adrian's Elephant (Miranda Hernandez)

043 – Wed, Oct 4, 2017, 7:43 PM

We talk a lot about blame. Everyone says it’s not my fault. Does it really matter? Are you any less gone?

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Vines, Kaua'i, Hawai'i (Miranda Hernandez)

047 – Thu, Oct 19, 2017, 4:54 PM

My head knows I did everything I thought was right, but my heart will always wonder. Why didn’t I want to know more?

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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.

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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.

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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

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.

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Title: Requests of a Bereaved Mother for all Prenatal Providers | overlaid on image of pregnancy and infant care books.

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.

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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?

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