We know the most important thing we can do as parents is to protect our children. Having a child changes our world forever. We know we will feed them, love them, cuddle them, make sure they are kept happy and healthy. If they are sick we take them to the doctor and do everything we can to keep them comfortable.
What if you tuck your wonderful bundle of joy into bed feeling blessed and confident as a parent; only to wake up discovering your little one as slipped away quietly to Heaven. This is called Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and it claims the lives of about 2,500 babies every year (statics found here). My family was affected by SIDS in 2011, when my son Rylan passed away in his sleep. Naturally our instinct is to blame ourselves, I know I did, because it is our purpose to protect our children, right?
At the time we had Rylan I already had 3 other children and now have another baby. (see here) Let me make it clear that there is nothing. I mean NOTHING that I did differently with him than I did with any of my other children. It was this fact alone that has kept my blame game at bay. But what about other parents? What about the first time parents who's baby became a victim of SIDS? They are left with blaming themselves because they have no reason to think otherwise. This breaks my heart.
Every time I talk with other SIDS parents I hear the same thing; "I blame myself". I won't lie I blamed myself too but after questioning "why" so many times and coming up without answers I have succumbed to the fact that there just are no answers. At this point there are only "recommendations" for how to reduce SIDS but even if you follow those recommendations to a tee there is no guarantee that your little one won't be the next victim. We can only pursue research to stop it. I'm not here to scare anyone or cause you to be paranoid. I am here to try and ease the minds of other SIDS parents.
I would like to say this to those parents:
"I know the likeliness is that you will still blame yourself at times. But I hope that when those thoughts creep into your head you think about this....For everything you did there are thousands of parents who have done the same thing with their own children and their children are fine. While that might upset you with the "Why my child, then" it may also help you to understand that it is NOTHING YOU DID WRONG!!! Also, know that you are not alone and there are a lot of helpful support websites; two of my personal favorites are CJ Foundation for SIDS and SIDS Support - Learning to Cope "