If you answered yes, you are not alone. I am feeling plenty of guilt this afternoon as I stare at the purple bruise on the top of Hailey’s forehead.

She took at header off the toilet earlier this afternoon. She landed on the top of her face, performed a not-so-graceful somersault before landing on the tile floor. The wails followed immediately.

When she fell off the couch a few weeks ago I didn’t feel guilty at all. I considered that part of the learning process. In that case, I was no where near her. She always makes a beeline for the coasters on the end table after each nursing and was at the edge before my bra was refastened. She needed to fall to learn caution. I was ok with that.

But this time was different. I feel all sorts of guilt. I think it’s because I feel like I should have caught her. I was sitting right in front of her. I wasn’t holding on to her…we’ve been potty training for 3 months now so I didn’t feel the need. But I was right there.

I keep trying to replay how it happened and what I could have done differently but I’m at a loss. I know my attention was diverted for a split second but it wasn’t any longer and I was still facing her. It happened quickly. So quickly.

This is the second time I’ve felt guilty about a fall. Shortly after she started crawling she was crawling near the edge of the bed. I had my hands on her so she wouldn’t fall off but I didn’t consider the possibility of a stumble into the corner of the windowsill which abuts the bed. Again, her head turned purple and she got a bump. I felt tremendous guilt because I was holding her when it happened.

Interesting how I’m ok with the falls, tumbles, and bumps when I’m not hovering. I’m probably neglectful in the eyes of some parents for not shadowing Hailey all of the time but I don’t feel guilty about letting her roam free to explore the world around her. I’m always nearby. And I know that hurting herself, stumbling, and falling is all part of the learning process.

But if I’m holding on to her or sitting right in front of her and she hurts herself I struggle. I feel like I should have caught her. I feel like that fall and that bruise shouldn’t have happened. I know I could have done better. But I didn’t. I failed. And I feel guilty.

Thankfully when my husband got home and saw the splotch on her forehead he held me and told me he forgave me and that Hailey had clearly forgiven me and was unaffected since she was happily playing. He told me I just needed to forgive myself. He held me while I cried.

I know its part of the learning process and that she is fine. I’m sure my mind could go on and on about how I shoulda, coulda, woulda.  I know I’m not perfect. It’s just difficult when I expect more from myself and I feel like I could have prevented an injury.

Have you ever felt guilty when your child has hurt themselves? Any advice?

Photo by Chalky Lives