What guilt can do to a person

Guilt, how bad it is to have it. And often wrongly too, because we don't talk ourselves into it? It can upset your whole life and why?

We so often sell ourselves short, but how can we change this?

Guilt so high

You know when it's all of a sudden over, you can't take it anymore and you think you're going to fail? Here the guilt was so high. Guilt feelings I had toward my son and only when I talked to someone about this did I learn that this really wasn't necessary.

How it began

Three years old he was-our youngest son-and he didn't sleep through the night. From midnight he was awake every hour and crying. I went to him every time, comforted him and went back to bed half asleep again. My husband and I got sick with fatigue.

This had to change.

Night terrors

But there was more. A few times a week our son also woke up at ten o'clock ’s in the evening. Screaming, hitting, kicking. He did not react to my presence.

After six grueling months my candle had run out. I was so tired. I got sick and decided to go to the doctor and seek help.

Help for my son. Never expected me to be the person to go on calls, because it turned out that guilt was the biggest shortcoming…

The idea of failure

During those six months my husband said often enough, ‘let him cry,’ but I couldn't do that. I didn't know what was wrong. So my gut and heart said ‘go to him’. I was full of guilt. Then we got sick, my husband and I, lack of sleep was what we had, I couldn't take it anymore and cried constantly.

After long hesitation I decided to go to the doctor. There I sat in the waiting room. I felt like a ‘loser.’ How could I not take it anymore!

You are a mother, come on!

Going to the family doctor for help

The family doctor took my story very seriously, she probably saw the bags under my eyes almost on my chin as well. She immediately called a pediatrician and he explained it –waking up several times a week at ten o'clock-, those were night terrors. These were more common in children. This is how she processed the day. Her advice was to leave him, not pick him up and make sure he didn't hurt himself on his bed with the kicking and swinging.

For waking up every hour, she didn't know what to do and sent me to an educational assistant. This was what I thought! It felt a little like failure.

Get rid of that guilt

I had to come to the teaching assistant by myself. The first conversation was pleasant, she let me tell my story and actually knew right away the sticking points from my story. When the youngest was born, he was in the hospital regularly for the first four weeks. Also the second night after his birth. I was not allowed to stay then because he was in the NICU and drove back and forth to the hospital every day.

Even after his surgery (he was four weeks old) I did not stay overnight in the hospital. This was allowed, but because I had experienced this same thing with my oldest son and nights not sleeping because of all the equipment in his room, I decided to sleep at home. With the idea of being rested for his recovery. This decision I later blamed myself so much and felt guilty about it.

I left a small child alone in the hospital.

Such nice advice

The teaching assistant indicated to me that my son sensed this guilt and knew, I only have to cry and my mother will come to me. He knew and couldn't help himself. Her advice that night was to explain to him (he was three): ‘I'll come to you once tonight when you wake up and cry, but after that I won't come’. Believe it or not, it worked!

That night he cried once, I went over, stroked his head and then he cried again. I stayed down and soon he was asleep again!. To this day he has never had nights like this again.

Night terrors also passed after a few weeks.

The changes in my child

As you can understand, I only went to see the teaching assistant once to evaluate. Then it was done. I understand I was very lucky, that my son, picked up the change immediately. How glad I am that I then pushed aside my shame and pride and started asking for help. I could not have thought of this (however easily) myself.

Also, expressing my guilt, helped me process everything that happened.