Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Group therapy, continued: Who has your husband blamed for what happened to your child?

One thing struck me about yesterday's post on whether you've blamed yourself for what happened to your child, besides the outpouring of raw emotion: None of us spoke about blaming our doctors.

Candace blamed herself for not insisting she be moved to a hospital with an NICU. Jenn regretted choosing a VBAC. Chrissi spoke of doctors blaming her for not taking adequate folic acid, though it wasn't true. I got so mad when I read that.

I've never gone down that path of blaming the doctor. Dave has. The only time I have ever seen real anger coming from my husband—the most sweet, good-natured guy I know—is when he talks about Max's delivery and the hell that ensued after our seemingly perfect little baby started having seizures.

Moms have a special physical and emotional connection to the babies we carried; maybe that's why we feel responsible when something goes wrong during the delivery or afterward. But it's also such a woman thing to shoulder the guilt, isn't it?

Who have your husbands blamed, if anyone, for what happened to your child?

Photo by yador


  1. Yep, he blamed the SHO; the system, which meant that the SHO had been on duty for a very long time, the consultant who did not tell the SHO to send me for a caesarian, the hospital for producing two sets of notes on the birth that disagreed on one key point. And so on and so on. Basically it had to be someone's fault. BTW love the photo.

  2. Hey Ellen! I love this series, keep em coming! Don't get me wrong....I did lots of doctor blaming...lots! Carl is still furious with all the people in charge of our care during those few days. My OB, who delivered Faith, once he found out that something was wrong, NEVER came back to check on me. After he closed my c section that was the last time I ever saw him! He didn't come back for follow up or to even say "hey, I hate that this happened", he sent his partner. Carl says this is as good as an admission of guilt that he should have done a c section from the get go and he knew it. If he had just read the ultra sound, from the previous day he could have seen that she was turned wrong. Carl can hardly hold his contempt in when the subject comes up.

  3. OMG, yes!! Sometimes I think I didn't push hard enough and I can get into blaming myself. Autism is such a weird one because no one knows anything about anything and every kid is like a snowflake: no two are the same. But, Autism is really only a small piece of the puzzle that is my Little Bird. We have thus far been unable to get a CP dx but her severe low tone is the basis for so many of her issues. My husband blames the OB/GYN who kept me pushing even though the baby was in distress; blames the NICU team for not being there when they were called (with that dip in heart rate, we knew they'd be needed)- the OB had to resuscitate my bird because the pediatric people weren't there!!
    He's always wanted to get our birth records and pursue a case for help to pay for some of these services. The only dx we can get (besides hypotonia) is Autism and here in Michigan, there's no insurance coverage for Autism related services. Sigh.
    I don't think that blaming himself or me has ever even crossed his mind...

  4. I love reading the comments on this post series. I fully blame myself for reasons I cannot get into here, & my husband blames himself. He felt for along time that Little Man's condition was "payment" for past sins. Sad, I know. I hope that he has come to the conclusion that our son is the way he is because it was God's plan for him to be that way & for us the be his parents.

  5. My husband blames the doctor. He remembers things about the delivery that I don't.
    For Carla please read John 9:2

  6. Carla...I have felt and sometimes still feel the same way about Morgan.

    It's heart breaking to feel that..that your child is paying for your misdeeds (however untrue it may be). Sometimes when you don't have any answers..the most irrational explanations swell up.

    I was angry at God for a long time...for putting so much adversity and struggle in Morgan's way. It didn't seem fair. But watching him grow and accomplish things that I wasn't sure he would accomplish has changed that anger.

    I am not angry now...sad sometimes, but not angry.


  7. To be honest, my husband blamed me at first. The night after we took Monkey home from the hospital after he was diagnosed, Hubby told me to make a list of everything I could have possibly done wrong during my pregnancy in hopes that we could figure out what had caused Monkey's stroke. That one really stung and made me feel abandoned, especially since I was neurotically careful during my pregnancy. He has since apologized for his verbal diarrhea, and I have long since forgiven him. In his defense, he was just as unnerved as I was at the time and didn't have the presence of mind to think before he spoke (goodness knows he has trouble in that area on even his best days!)
    Later on, Hubby did blame the doctor, as did I. Unfortunately, we don't have enough evidence to determine whether or not Monkey's stroke was caused by the poor care he and I received during labor. At this point, we're more concerned with how to help Monkey than we are with figuring out what caused the stroke. We know it wasn't caused by anything we did, and for now that's good enough for me.

  8. I completely get what Carla is saying, I used to feel that way. My husband blames the mid wife due to complications in the delivery. I know that there was nothing anybody could do. I have gotten over the blame game. That's not going to make anyone feel better.

    I am just thankful for what my T-man can do, because it is a lot. I choose to believe that we, as parents of special needs children, were chosen to have these blessings for a reason. That is what gets me through a lot!

  9. As a dad, who feels like a bit of a party crasher on this group, I just want to add my perspective.

    For years my wife blamed herself for our daughter's condition, Optic Nerve Hypoplasia, and the difficulties that come with it, extreme PDD.

    She blamed herself for not pushing hard enough with the doctor, who actually did a good job, the pregnancy just went south in a hurry towards the end. She blamed our first pediatrician, but mostly she blamed herself.

    I agree with her about our first pediatrician. He was an idiot with a God complex. I wish the OB would have been able to make the pregnancy go better. But there was nothing he could do, and several OB's since have told my wife that her body simply rejects being pregnant. Hence, Amanda is an only child. But, Tina's pregnancy could have been perfect and this condition would have happened. It's genetic, it just is, and no one is to blame.

    I'm sure most of you moms have read, Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus and you know that men are fixers. The fact that we can't "fix" our special children is hard to accept. There has to be some anger. We really need an enemy. So we'll blame doctors and insurance companies and just about anything we can.

    I personally blamed Karma for a while, for reasons I won't post.

    But, one day Amanda and I were in the yard doings some light landscaping and she pooped her pants. I picked her up, carried her inside, cleaned her up and then took her right back out as if nothing had happened. She was six years old and hadn't even called me "daddy" yet. It was then I realized that my anger and guilt issues were gone.

    I hope all dads can get to that point.

  10. In our situation, my husband blamed the birthmom (obviously), the lawyer, the agency...everyone!

    I don't think we quite fit in...but I am totally enjoying learning about everyone else.

  11. Since the realities kinda snuck up on us over the first year and a half or so, there wasn't any doctor blaming or any blaming of me, either. I had a very easy time in the hospital--at least compared to most people I know (I still don't think it was a walk in the park, but whatever). My husband was in the "shit happens" category and never allowed it to impact him (in any way that was apparent, anyway). I don't know if he wondered if his high living in his wild youth and continued tobacco use (not in the house, but even at that, not a good thing) for most of his lifetime in his later years had an impact--after all, it's not all about eggs and wombs alone. OF course, his sister's (and her boyfriend's) high living was the reason we ended up with her kid, my oldest, and those problems he has can be directly attributed to drug and alcohol abuse. But the baby's problems? Who knows why. His mother, on the other hand, was way too quick to say it was because I was way too old to be having a child and of "inferior stock" (a slap at my brother, who was born partially deaf and had a few other issues, most of which he's outgrown, pretty much) and that's what caused the problems. The bitch! Glad they don't live close, is all I can say--not that they come to visit very often, anyway. I do grit my teeth and smile, though when they do come by, for the sake of the little ones. What else can you do?

  12. My husband did not blame anyone that I know of but he did tell me that he thought the doctors were over reacting about Evan's heart defect. I had to explain to him that for mammals having a three chambered heart is not good and will quickly kill said mammal if nothing is done. He does not have the science background that I do so it is understandable that he would not really get what was going on.

  13. No doctors to blame in our case. I have blamed myself plenty for things I may have inadvertently done during pregnancy or even prior to pregnancy.

    My husband has blamed himself... worried about his genes or because he is older.

  14. My husband didn't blame anyone at all. Love Group Therapy!!

  15. Well, I AM the husband, and I weighed in yesterday, but I forgot to mention something else, and I do not want to cause any kind of problem/issue.

    I also blamed God for allowing it. He and I have not been on speaking terms since I was 26, and when bad stuff goes down I generally get pissed off at the G-Man, let him know it and then let him know that I still quite happy with the separation thank you very much.

    Of course, I have major regrets about it, and sometimes miss that faith, but I would be remiss if I didn't at least cop to the fact that I threw some blame skyward.

  16. I had a textbook pregnancy, smooth delivery (my son had Apgar scores of 8 and 9), and no family history of developmental problems. Who can I blame? My son mysteriously has developmental delays and neurological issues that can't be attributed to any specific cause. One neurologist said that his problems probably started in utero. Some fetuses are more susceptible to viruses, toxins, etc. Development is so complex. There are many opportunities for things to go wrong. In terms of genetics, for some people, a genetic defect might result in greater susceptibility to cancer. In others, it might cause serious developmental problems.

  17. He didn't blame just happened. wish I were more like him.

    - the mom who put the baby in a bouncy chair at 2 days old and blames herself

  18. I think MrB has tried to refrain from blamming any one but I can tell he's been angry with the doctors (one from the practice who what there throughout the day and with the one who delivered) and then the nurses for how they treated us.
    Sometimes I think he's a little angry at himself too... for not being able to do anything.

  19. Geo blamed his genetics-his mother is adopted and has no medical records AT all. We know nothing of her health before three and nothing of her parents health at all; since SB is often genetic, he has wondered more than once if it "came" from his side.

  20. I blamed myself. I think deep down my husband blamed me too but he was good about working through it and not letting it fester. Instead he focused more on blaming himself and the midwives that we were seeing.

    I still blame myself and sometimes it still takes my breath away.

  21. I love what you're calling this, "group therapy."

    You are awesome.

  22. Both my husband and I do blame the doctor. We have good reason. I don't blame "God" because, frankly, this whole experience has caused me to question the existence of one. It's one thing if all of this was meant to, in the grander scheme of things, "punish" or "teach" us, but our child doesn't deserve the pain that stems from something so utterly and completely preventable. That's just where I am right now. Presently, I don't let the anger rule our life, but I do make good use of it. It flames the passion and intensity I have to pursue justice on his behalf. With that being said, I am so incredibly grateful our baby was brought into our lives. He is the most amazing, strongest, hardest working being I have ever encountered! I love him more than I could ever put into words!

  23. Ken and John, I didn't mean to make you feel left out, I forget it's not just us womenfolk here, and that's a really good thing. John, I was really touched by your story about about being in the yard with Amanda. FYI, I'm the "fixer" in my relationship. I've always been that way. But I suspect even those of us who weren't that way BECAME that way once our kids came along.

    Ken, it's really brave and honest of you to admit that you blame God. It's kind of a taboo topic but it seems others here have struggled with that, and probably lots more who chose not to talk about it. I went through that, too.

    The comments these last two days have been comforting, because it's clear a lot of us feel the same, but also heartbreaking.

  24. What a great post. I think he has blamed almost everyone except for me, because we know what happened was out of either one of ours control.

  25. OH, husbands talk about this sort of thing? Mine, although very supportive of me and the kids, just kind of acts like it never happened. In addition to blaming myself I do blame the doctor too but am trying to move past it. If I allow myself to think about the blame too much i go insane!!!!

  26. Hubby doesn't really do the blame game. We all know there were screw-ups, but Hubby is too ZEN to try to blame somebody.

  27. My husband blames my Asperger's genes. (I am not Asperger's, but it's pretty obvious that one of my siblings is). He couldn't say much when I shot back that he knew my sibling before we got married, and he married me anyway!

    And anyway: the ADHD comes from his side.

  28. I've always wondered why my son was born the way he was but I've never blamed anyone and neither did my ex-husband. I thought it was one of those things that God knew I could handle.
    What's always gotten me is that my ex's family blames me for Ethan's autism. Like I caused it on purpose.
    The term ignorance is bliss is so wrong 99% of the time.

  29. Ellen, thank you for this from the bottom of my heart. I have not been able to comment on any of this because so much of this is still raw to me--even after 6 years.

    I am getting emotional, but I blamed and still do wonder if I should have been smarter--somehow intituitively knowing that Emma was losing O2 during delivery. I also blame the doctor who admitted to failing to even look at the monitor that showed Emma's destress. My husband blamed me at first--I think. He blames God and the doctor and nursing staff. Emma and I nearly died that night. Daily I question, why? I had thought I was past this until these posts, so thanks. My coping mechanism is always trying to look at the positives in what Emma can do--no matter how small. I realize that she could not be here, or be here in a much worse state.

    Anyway, I am late to the converstaion, but felt compelled to chime in.

  30. Hubby has thought that maybe the fact that we traveled to high elevations when I was just barely pregnant, that it may have caused Graham's defect. I think I've successfully talked him out of it. It still comes up once in a while though.

  31. This is such a great discussion.

    My husband is truly faithful and we both have always believed that Chloe chose this life to make our family stronger. Every once in awhile, though, my husband asks if I think the study I was involved in during my pregnancy had anything to do with Chloe's issues.... it was a study that either gave me a placebo or Vitamin C to see if that would help with pre-eclampsia.

    No. I don't think that has ANYTHING to do with Chloe's issues, but that's the only thing my hubby has pointed a finger at.

  32. Until we had our son's Autism diagnosis, we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what was to blame for our son's behaviors & delays - I thought maybe it was b/c I took an antidepressant (no choice, I need it, hands down, to survive), maybe it was b/c I didn't eat enough when I was pregnant (indigestion & nausea killed my usually insane appetite), maybe the twitching he did when he was first born wasn't something normal, maybe it was something serious & wasn't address properly, maybe it was a huge number of things - but now that it's Autism, for the most part, neither of us seem to be blaming a person - maybe it's environmental - but there's nothing we can do about the cause - all we can do is work for the best outcome.

  33. I never blame anyone for my autism, because it is random.


Thanks for sharing!

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