Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Are Parents Built for Guilt?

"So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt."
~ William Shakespeare (Hamlet)

In a few short months, my son will turn one year old. Watching him grow, getting stronger and more aware each day, it's hard to believe that, nearly a year ago, just hours after he was born, he was placed in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU) for low blood sugar, or neonatal hypoglycemia. He made a full recovery - as most full-term babies with hypoglycemia do - but in the days, weeks, and even months that followed, I found myself wondering, "Was there something I could have done differently? Some knowledge I could have had that might have prevented such an outcome?" I definitely dealt with some guilt after his birth, which I know now is common among parents who have had the NICU experience. But what I've since come to understand is that my experience of guilt is not so unique when it comes to parenting in general.