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“Today I saw a little girl walking with her siblings in the shopping centre. I felt so sad. She had the WORST limp. I knew there was something wrong with her. But then I saw her mother. Her mother had an even WORSE limp. Do you see Rochelle? The mother caused the child’s disability!” The stories my mother-in-law tells are always so fascinating.

I listened to her repeating her encounter to me over and over again. She could tell that my mind was elsewhere and I wasn’t responding the way that she wanted me to.

At the moment I was just so excited, I was on the edge of my seat because for this extremely rare occasion, English was being spoken in front of me and I just felt grateful to be included in a conversation.

My Mother-In-Law Was Laying Down The Guilt!

Then the words started to sink in. The story began to make sense. And suddenly I was wishing we could just go back to the norm of everyone speaking in a foreign language around me and me just sitting there making up hilarious transcripts in my mind of what they could be saying to one another.

The next day I had a specialist appointment for my newborn. She has a problem with her hips. And although I know that the powers above will look after her, as a parent, of course, my heart was still breaking.

It’s The Mum’s Fault!

“Do you see how it’s always the mother’s fault? The mother caused this! She has a limp and she passed it on to her daughter. Can you see this Rochelle?” my mother-in-law asked as she attempted to gauge how much of her story I understood.

I must have seemed as though I were in a daze – probably because a huge part of me was. Either that or my poor mother-in-law feels I am just too thick to grasp the moral of her story and so she continued.

“Look at this child’s eye. She only has an eye infection because you always have eye infections. You gave it to her.” My mother-in-law patiently explained to me pointing out my daughter’s eye.

What Does She Know?

At this point, anyone reading this could very well be fooled into thinking that my husband’s mother is a medical genius. Honestly, I am surprised that scientists don’t consult her when trying to find the answers they’re looking for! But shockingly, my mother-in-law is not any sort of medical professional.

Did she think that I didn’t already blame myself for everything that is wrong with my children? Most parents are guilty of burdening themselves with this unnecessary torturous guilt as though they somehow intentionally caused harm to their little ones!

Mums Blame Themselves For EVERYTHING!

Every single time I change my ten-year-old’s diaper I blame myself. I don’t know how I caused his brain damage. But nonetheless I place the blame firmly on my shoulders and I carry it with me day in day out.

When I feel the weight of the blame starting to break me, my mind tries to console my heart that I didn’t cause my son to be the way he is. And sometimes my heart will listen long enough to muster up its strength before lifting the weight of the guilt once more.

The Guilt Is Real!

I didn’t need more weight placed on me. Not more than I was already picking up on my own. So I politely nodded at my mother-in-law and then excused myself because I was certain I could hear my Labrador distinctly calling my name.

Life happens, and it happens fast. In fact that is possibly the one thing that is guaranteed. The other thing I am almost certain of is that a majority of parents – bar some of those you hear about on the news – have good intentions for their young. We want more than anything for them to be healthy, happy and feel loved.

Yet we persecute ourselves when things aren’t perfect. Blame ourselves as though we intentionally wanted to see them face unnecessary challenges. Even though we know we would trade places with their suffering in a heartbeat.

Why Do We Guilt-Trip Ourselves?

Why do we torture ourselves like that? What’s there to gain from it? Does it ease our children’s pain for a moment? Or does it steal some of who we are away from our children?

Surely we can’t be the same people that we would be for them whilst weighed down by all the guilt we choose to carry within ourselves.

My mother-in-law’s story today was just so deeply insightful. It taught me that we as parents do pass on things to our children, whether intentionally or unintentionally. And you know what? I don’t want to teach my children to blame themselves or carry around unnecessary guilt. I don’t want to pass it on to them. So I won’t!

Let Go That Guilt!

Be kind to yourself, the way you would want your child to be kind towards themselves.

If you’ve been tackling parenting whilst ferociously protecting the guilt you harbour, just imagine how spectacularly more brilliant it’s going to be once you put that guilt down.

Your child is watching your every move. Try not to pass on your ability to carry guilt, especially for something completely out of your control!

You’ve got this, really, you do!

What would you do if your mother-in-law said these things to you? Tell us in the comments below.

  • I can’t repeat on here what I’d say to my mother in law but I think you can guess.

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  • That’s inappropriate, no matter who said it… family or stranger otherwise

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  • She might be your mother-in-law but she’s certainly not a nice person. I’d tell her that she wasn’t welcome in the house if she thinks that way about her grandchildren. You are not at fault unless you don’t love your daughter but I can tell that you do. I get the feeling that your MIL is not worth your effort and you certainly shouldn’t feel any guilt. Tell her if she feels that way then she’s not welcome in your home with that attitude. You are strong and you are compassionate. The proof is in the love you have for your daughter and just you remember that

    Reply

  • Even when a sickness or disability is genetic or inherited, it’s not the parents fault they have it and or that they passed it onto the child. A disability or sickness doesn’t make a person unworthy, each life is valuable and each person is unique. When my mum in law would say these things to me I would temporary or permanently take distance. I really do not need to have my mind fed by this type of lies.

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  • There are worse things you can be than disabled & frankly if your child is disabled, & you carry that gene; well fantastic. You’ve lived through it. You know it. You can give the best care & knowledge to navigate through it & succeed!


    • Yes that is a good perspective !

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  • There is a way of standing up for yourself without being rude. I would be pointing out that your kids’ genes are half their father’s. If you just smile and nod that gives her permission to keep continuing with these ridiculous comments

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  • I don’t think it matters why…its happened…its how you manage the situation ongoing that matters

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  • In these situations, playing the blame game means everyone is losing out. Being a support and not judgemental is what the family needs at this time to strengthen them so that they can put their energies into positive action to enable their child to have the best outcome.

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  • That’s totally awful! My friend’s ex had seizures from time to time, HIS mother blamed her for the seizures, stating it was because she allowed him to eat junk food. It had absolutely nothing to do with him being left unattended as a baby where he fell from a height and landed on his head… basically in both cases mothers in laws are sometimes crazy and should be totally ignored!

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  • They don’t realise how hurtful it can be sometimes

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  • This is such a terrible thing to say or do to someone :(

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  • Wow this is rough! It would be heartbreaking for any parent to know they’ve passed something on to their child – they don’t need anyone else to point it out. In general mum guilt is horrid – I’m 18mths in and it still hits me in so many ways. I have a happy healthy toddler lol but I’m sure I can tell you all the ways I’m failing him if you asked. Crazy how we do that to ourselves

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  • Oh wow, what a cow! I would be tempted to tell her where to go and block contact. Sure, some things are genetic and inherited, but no way is it always mums fault

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  • There’s always a chance of passing down things through your genes but that’s the chance you take having kids. Nothing to feel guilty about. It was passed down to you from someone else!


    • Exactly ! Throw the guilt in the bin !

    Reply

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