People sometimes ask what caused Duckling's spina bifida. The truth is that all research shows that it tends to be a combination of genes and nutritional deficiencies. And then I freely admit that I wasn't eating nutritiously when Duckling was conceived. I did start taking a multivitamin, but depending on the conception date, it may not have been in time to prevent it. Usually, people tell me not to blame myself. I've been thinking about this lately and I've actually decided that I prefer to own this.
It's funny, but out of all the trauma and problems associated with the spina bifda, the fact that I probably had a hand in it has been one of the easier ones to deal with. I guess that's because I always felt that having a disability wasn't the end of the world for him and he could still have a happy and fulfilling life with it. The other reason is simply that it is there and there is nothing I can do to take it back now. If I keep beating myself up over the fact that his neural tube never sealed up fully, I'll never be able to help him thrive in the present.
You see, if I decide to think of spina bifida as a thing just happens, that I had no control over, then I become powerless. If I have no control over it, then I can avoid blaming myself, but the rules of the game are that I can do nothing to prevent it from happening again. If I own that spina bifida and embrace my role in it, then I am free to deal with the present and prevent it from happening again. When Snugglebutton was conceived, I was eating about 1,000-4,000 mcg of folate a day from legumes, greens, nuts and fruits. It seems to have worked since he came out just fine. (Yes, Baby #2 is going to go by Snugglebutton on this blog for now. It's sappy, but those of you who have met him know he is like a tiny little bundle of cuddles, so it fits.)
But if I had never made the decision to own my part in Duckling's spina bifida, I never would have been free to find the answers I needed to prevent it from happening again and act on them. And so, I willingly and happily blame accept that I had a role in my son's birth defect.