Thursday, June 7, 2012

Survivor’s Guilt

In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to put into words the complex range of emotions that I’ve been feeling. I’m not entirely sure that I’ll be successful doing so. However, I’ve always found writing to be cathartic, so I hope to just get it out of my head onto paper (or into the blogosphere, as it were).

On March 19th, I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy. Sully really has been a pure joy in every way. He tops the growth charts at the 97th percentile because of his healthy eating habit and already seems to be on his way to sleeping through the night, maybe also due to the large appetite. We were extremely lucky with both of our children, as they have so far remained healthy and happy. “So what’s the problem,” you ask?

A few of our friends and family have been plagued with misfortune when it comes to young ones. In one instance, a sweet little baby boy passed away after only 10 weeks and a grim prognosis. In another, a little girl passed away after a couple of years and a late diagnosis. Most recently, there’s a little one-year-old baby boy fighting to gain weight, losing his energy and burning with fevers every day. I know that the families don’t see it as misfortune; they’ve each been blessed to know their child as long as they have and are sure that the passing (or in the last case – illness) was part of a larger plan.

I can’t read about these situations or view any of the pictures of these precious little ones without extreme sadness and extreme guilt. I feel guilty celebrating my son’s healthy, flaunting it almost, while so many have had such heartache. On the other hand, it’s certainly not fair to Sully or to Scarlett to underplay their achievements and successes. I can’t find a balance between being elated that nothing awful has happened to my children or guilty that they are healthy and that I feel happy about it.

Right now, the best I can do is hope for the best for little Carter and remember Samantha and Lucas fondly. Tonight my babies get extra hugs.


  1. Oh, Casey! I am so glad you're blogging. We've had good convos this past week, TWICE! And not once did I pick up on this. HUGS. I'm glad you're writing. You need to say this stuff.

  2. We had something similar happen in our circle of acquaintances after Victoria was born, so I think I have felt something similar to what you have felt. It *is* survivor's guilt. Come to think of it, I feel that a lot, thanks to the large number of children with very serious problems I have seen at MMI. I come home every night to my wonderful, beautiful, healthy, living children, and I really know what an undeserved privilege that is. Your take on this is really raw and honest. Thanks for writing it.

  3. Being a mom that has lost an infant I so appreciate your point of view. Losing a child changed my world forever yet gave me the ability to love my other children in a unique and wonderful way. You too have learned this lesson from the heartache of others and your children will greatly benefit from your compassion. (KayCee)