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  • Sarah Menzies

Mum Guilt


It is expected that the government will today announce the lockdown will continue for at least 3 more weeks. Athough we want a return to "normal", I doubt the majority of people would be happy if restrictions were lifted. I do keep hearing stories about people who are not following the lockdown rules. People don't think it will happen to them. The horrific amount of deaths just become statistics, just a number to watch out for on the news...until that statistic is a loved one.


As the lockdown continues the days all blend into one, especially at the moment with the school holidays, there isn't even school work to bicker over. It becomes hard to know what to write about, how I'm actually feeling. I guess they are minimal issues, we are all healthy & that is what is paramount.

Yesterday was the 1st year anniversary of the death of our lovely dog, Bess. In ordinary times it would of been on my mind for weeks. Instead it took a FB memory to remind me. Bess's death was, at that point, the worst thing that happened to us all as a family. It is still wrapped in guilt for me. We had to make the decision to have her put to sleep. Although I tell myself that the timing was right there is still a gnawing doubt.


I've been reading books about grief. In the hope that they held some miraculous information that would enable me to feel better about Lauren's death...they don't. I dont know why I thought they would. I guess it's called grasping at straws.


The books talk alot about guilt. I was going to write that I don't have guilt about Lauren's death, but that's not true. I may say it, and people may say that I shouldn't have guilt, but deep down it's there gnawing away. It's the guilt that, in my experience, is specific to gender, the one that makes working mums feel bad if they're working, stay at home mums defensive if they're not. It's mum guilt. I'm sure Dad's can be affected, and people who aren't parents, but I personally identify it as Mum guilt.


Mum guilt can't be eradicated by intelligent thought, it is more primal than that.


Everytime someone posts the warning signs for sepsis on social media I think I should have seen the signs in Lauren sooner. Even though I know that I rang 111 as soon as I was concerned and then took her to A&E when I couldn't get through. When I think of her time at Alderhey Hospital I think why did I not sit by her bed 24hours a day. Even though I know the nurses told me not to and often sent me out to get food, and I had Lauren's siblings to consider. When I think about Lauren's last days at home I feel guilty that I wasn't there more. I had a school event on the Thursday night & left for work early on Friday. Even though I was up at 5am with Lauren when she was sick and I checked on her before I left for work and she was fast asleep. Even though her dad said all she did on Friday was lie on the settee watching tv and moan at him about food/drink. I feel guilty that I didn't spend more time with her in the months before her death. Even though she was a teenager and the last thing she wanted was me in her space all the time. In the weeks before her death we were in a really good mum/daughter relationship. She knew I loved her & was proud of her. Although mum guilt tells me I should have told her more. Also mum guilt makes me remember arguments from previous months, when I was probably less calm than I should have been. Even though those arguments had been settled and apologies made on both sides.


Maybe I did need to read those grief books, maybe they helped me realise how much I hate Mum Guilt.








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