Unexplainable guilty feeling 6

This weekend was BritMumsLive. I love BritMums so don’t worry, it’s not about the event. It’s about feelings. Deep feelings. At the close of BML they always have “blogger keynote speeches” – this is where bloggers read out a moving, brilliant or funny post themselves, in their own voice. Sadly this year’s speeches were mostly extremely moving. I could barely breathe through tears and snot – I cried so much my snot became like tears. During my blubbing others moved closer, especially Jane. I rested my snotty head on her shoulder as I sobbed. That’s what we do, we pull together even though we rarely meet in “real life”, it’s just how us parent bloggers roll.

I'm going to cry I think @downssideup X #britmumslive

A video posted by Julie's Notebook (@juliesnotebook) on

Hayley read Dear Richard Dawkins you are wrong and I remember the outrage I felt at the time she wrote it. I remember just wanting to hug Hayley so hard after reading it. But hearing it outloud I cried.
Hayley is so kind, so caring, so wise. It is awe inspiring hearing her defend her beautiful daughter, she’s so passionate, so loving, such a fabulous Mother. I refused Downs testing in pregnancy myself, I was made to feel bad about that, but the test was pointless to me. If it was positive, if D had been “sick” I couldn’t have aborted. I’m not anti abortion, but I just couldn’t. There was no way I could choose to kill a baby I loved and wanted, no damn way.

Helen spoke of wanting to be a better mother shortly after her daughter was diagnosed with type one diabetes. She spoke about the massive changes it had made to all of their lives and I felt guilty for thinking “glad it’s her family not mine”. I could not cope with the needles, I’ve nearly fainted and even collapsed from the phobia induced panic attacks after people have done insulin self tests near me. I mean the poor lady was on the edge of a blood sugar “hypo” and she controlled herself long enough to get me help. That’s the wrong way around.


Then Jenny read Dear Elspeth. A letter to her recently departed daughter about her death, her suicide. The sadness, the shock and the family. The policemen in her home, Elspeth’s final letter. Seriously, read it. I remember back in August when I heard about Elspeth. I hoped it wasn’t true, but when I saw Jenny write it, I knew it was real. Hearing these words spoken by Jenny had me bent over in tears, so brave of her to read it herself. So heartbreaking, so raw, so honest. You see Elspeth was on the spectrum, something I still believe about my D. He’s threatened to kill himself and it hurts to hear when young people succeed in this.

Then this speech really did me in. Twinkle Twinkle by Louise from 23 week socks. I’d never heard of Louise before this reading, she’s a nurse. This is the story of grief at the loss of one of her patients, a sweet little child. She explained how she was meant to care for the child medically but not care care for them. How could any parent care for someone else’s child in this way and not get attached to them? I couldn’t do her job, I would not cope. But for the parents of this child, I am so glad she was there.

Hearing these stories and others this weekend was very triggering for me. I felt relieved my kids have no major health problems and that they are both alive. I felt relieved in a “so glad it’s not my kids” kind of way. Then I felt guilt, majorly guilty for valuing my children’s lives above that of another child. Of course I’ve not caused these awful things, I’ve not wished anyone’s child ill or dead. So why do I feel guilty?

Jenny reading about her darling Elspeth, it made me remember times I’ve wanted to die. The times I’ve tried to die.

I remembered the time I took my Jen for a walk in his buggy with the intention of ending things.

I had severe PND but the doctors just shoved me on a waiting list for therapy and I heard nothing more. I was getting no help and I constantly thought I was a hideous mother. He’d be better off without me, so would my big boy D. I planned things, I thought things through. I knew my boys were covered in my will, and I knew who they’d live with and where. I waited until D was in school. I had no babysitterso I dressed Jen in one of his best outfits, a matching set not charity shop odd bits. I wanted him to look loved, because he was. I packed his nappy bag with five or six complete outfits, over ten nappies, his medical record book and his favourite teddy. I strapped him into his buggy, doing his straps a bit tighter than usual aware he’d be alone for a few minutes, and carefully loaded the basket under his chair with a full days worth of milk. Some milk was premixed, and I’d made a note of his prefered milk brand. I put a few family photos in the front pocket of his bag and walked. I walked to a railway bridge, not to jump from, but because the hump of the bridge caused a traffic blind spot.

This is a double decker bus route, and I knew when my bus was due. If I die under a bus the driver will see Jen, and if not he’s about 100 meters from a church and it’s nearly “mother and baby club” time – he wouldn’t be alone long. I stand there talking nonsense to my little guy, I checked his buggy brakes repeatedly. I had no intention of harming him, I even angled his buggy away from the road so he wouldn’t remember seeing blood on a road. The last thing he would have seen was me faking him a smile.

As I see the top floor of the bus over the hump I blow Jen a kiss, close my eyes and walk. I hear the brakes squeal and brace myself for the impact. It doesn’t happen, he missed me. That poor driver missed me. If by some chance you are a bus or train driver that’s been in this situation I personally want to apologise.
I can’t remember how I got home. But I can tell you no one noticed, no one except that bus driver.

Some would call me selfish, but as Ally pointed out it was far from selfish to care about my baby even when trying to die. To make sure he had enough to cope for a day, and making sure he was safely strapped in. His medical notes even had next of kin contact information in. He’d be alone merely minutes, then I assumed a day with social workers before being passed back to family named in my will.

To walk into traffic on purpose was desperate, but brave too. It means that even when I am doing so badly I want to die, I am still a good mum.

I’m glad I failed, but sad I got that far. I still feel guilty as hell though. Why am I alive, why are my boys healthy, why are my fellow bloggers children dead or have conditions when I still have my children?

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6 thoughts on “Unexplainable guilty feeling

  • Michelle

    You shouldn’t feel guilty at all. Post natal mental health care in this country is apalling. I too had PND after a couple of my boys, and like you say you are just stuck on a waiting list and given anti-depressants and sent on your merry way. Things need to improve, but I doubt they will under the current government!

  • Jenny @ the brick castle

    Oh bless you so much. This is such an intimate post and I am so very, very glad you are still here to write it xx
    I didn’t understand a year ago, I do now. I understand how you can feel like that and have no thought of anything but everyone else, and feel it is the right thing to do for them.
    I understand how you can feel that there is no benefit to you being here, but I now know in my heart and my head 100% that it isn’t true. I applaud you so much for your complete honesty, and second every comment you will get that says you don’t need to feel any guilt (and that will be all of them). I hope you are now certain of those facts too xx

  • Ally Messed Up Mum

    Wow, this is hard to read. I think no matter how many times you hear this story you can’t help but feel emotional. Never should you feel guilty for having mental health problems though. Never feel guilty for having loved your children so much you feel like nothing you give them is enough, that’s a natural feeling that comes with parenthood!! You are fantastic for speaking so openly, the courage it must take to do so… All I see when I read this post is an amazing mother, an amazing woman, with so much love to offer. What more can your kids want? Xxxx

  • Lucie Aiston

    Julie. I have so much respect for you for writing this honest and personal post. Its so moving. Depression is an AWFUL thing which i unfortunately suffer from too. I will always be an ear for you if you ever need to talk. Always. Was great to meet you at BritMums. I will hug you just that little bit tighter when I see you next time. You are amazing. xxx