Guilt and Guts; Sri Lanka & Seattle

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Randomly, we choose to take a look at Sri Lanka, knowing so little about this interesting and beautiful country. Our curiosity revealed an exciting connection between Sri Lanka and our home, Seattle, WA, USA!

Sri Lanka:

Wikipedia: Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia near south-east India. Sri Lanka’s documented history spans 3,000 years, with evidence of pre-historic human settlements dating back to at least 125,000 years. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to World War II. Sri Lanka was known from the beginning of British colonial rule until 1972 as Ceylon. Sri Lanka’s recent history has been marred by a thirty-year civil war which decisively ended when the Sri Lankan military defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 2009. A diverse and multicultural country, Sri Lanka is home to many religions, ethnic groups, and languages. Sri Lanka is a republic and a unitary state governed by a semi-presidential system. Sri Lanka has a universal health care system that extends free healthcare to all citizens, which has been a national priority. 

Sri Lanka Preterm Births – Per WHO/Born Too Soon:

Preterm births in Sri Lanka are 10.7%, and the Sri Lanka is ranked 81 globally in the number of preterm births. “Born too Soon” also reports that Sri Lanka is one of seven low- and middle-income countries that have halved their preterm deaths within a decade (as of 2012). The additional countries include Turkey, Belarus, Croatia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Oman and China.

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Our journey to Sri Lanka led us to: INTERGROWTH-21st –

intergrowth21

The International Fetal and Newborn Growth Consortium for the 21st Century, or INTERGROWTH-21st, is a global, multidisciplinary network of more than 300 researchers and clinicians from 27 institutions in 18 countries worldwide and coordinated from the University of Oxford. The INTERGROWTH-21st project was a multi-centre, multi-ethnic, population-based project, conducted between 2009 and 2014, in eight demarcated urban areas: Pelotas, Brazil; Shunyi County, Beijing, China; Central Nagpur, India; Turin, Italy; Parklands Suburb, Nairobi, Kenya; Muscat, Oman; Oxford, UK, and Seattle, USA. Its primary aim was to study growth, health, nutrition and neurodevelopment from <14weeks of gestation to 2 years of age, using the same conceptual framework as the WHO Multicentre Growth Reference Study, so as to produce international prescriptive standards for pregnancy dating, maternal weight gain, fetal growth, newborn size, the postnatal growth of preterm infants and cognitive development at 2 years of age. INTERGROWTH -21st developed scientifically robust clinical tools to be used to monitor and evaluate maternal and fetal wellbeing, as well as infant health and nutrition at an individual and population level (birth weight, head circumference, length standards). Through this project INTERGROWTH-21st developed Preterm Size at Birth References and Z Scores (Standard Deviations) and online browser based tools that enable birth weight, length and head circumference to be classified according to these international references. On Feb. 19, 2016 Intergrowth-21st announced the availability of Very Preterm Size of Birth References and Z Scores.

An article dated Dec. 11, 2015 in the Global Health Network (https://tghn.org/) reported:Sri Lanka becomes the first country to adopt the INTERGROWTH-21st Preterm Standards”

Webinar: In January 2014, Professors Stephen Kennedy and Jose Villar, Co-Directors of the Oxford Maternal and Perinatal Health Institute, and “chief architects” of the INTERGROWTH-21st Project discussed the objectives, design and emerging findings from the world’s largest collaborative venture in the field of perinatal health research.

Webinar Link: https://intergrowth21.tghn.org/about/intergrowth-21st-webinar/

 

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      Part 2 (Journeys of Grief, Guilt, Guts and Gratitude):- GUILT

  • Miriam Webster:  Simple Definition of guilt:
  • :responsibility for a crime or for doing something bad or wrong
  • :a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong

In the preterm birth community, guilt is often experienced in relationship to “What Ifs” and “If Onlys”, and many Partners within our community experience guilt in some capacity related to the traumas that connect us.

Healthy Children.org published this updated article (11/21/2015) “Common Parent Reactions to the NICU”. The article briefly addresses the range of reactions and emotions parents may experience following their first moments in the NICU, such as Fear, Anger, Loss, Guilt, Powerlessness, and Feeling on Display. Regarding Guilt the article states:

“It took us a long time to resolve our guilt. We asked the ‘what if’ and ‘why us’ questions for months. But we did nothing wrong. We had good prenatal care. What happened to us was nobody’s fault.

Most parents express feelings of guilt after the birth of a sick or premature baby. You may ask yourself, “What did I do to cause this?” or “What could I have done to prevent this?” And nearly every parent unnecessarily laments, “If only I hadn’t….” Mothers, especially, examine their lives since the day they became pregnant—wondering if they could have changed the outcome by making different decisions or if their circumstances had been different.

For most babies in the NICU, the reasons they were born sick or premature are not known. If necessary, let go of guilty feelings, which will give you more energy to care for yourself and your new baby. It is also important to try and share these feelings with the NICU team. Often the NICU team can provide answers and comfort”.

We sometimes lock ourselves into a “closet” of guilt,  perhaps to avoid taking action.  In reality, however, the door is OPEN!  Allow guilt to fade with the setting sun. Welcome in the light of transformation as the sun arises.

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Kathy: My experience of guilt was stronger more in relationship to the twin (Cruz) whom I feel (from a spiritual perspective) choose not to remain  in this realm, than it was in relationship to the surviving twin (Kat) due to the fact that I have had an opportunity to contribute in a positive way to Kat’s current  life journey. As parents we can identify a myriad of issues that we imagine we “may” be guilty of.  Guilt itself offers an opportunity to look more intently into an event, our motivations and actions, etc., but beyond expanding our immediate perspective guilt is not a feeling that contributes to the well-being of ourselves or others.  I encourage our community partners to choose love, take action, and positively transform our feelings of guilt in order to support our health and well-being, and in doing so the health and well-being of others.

Kat: I feel some guilt that my brother Cruz passed while I was able to survive our birth. I experience some guilt that my family was caught in the trauma of caring for a child that lived while living in the anguish of another’s passing. Some guilt still remains present in my heart when I am in the NICU or hear a story of a fellow preemie that passes or has a challenging outcome. Within myself I question “why did I make the estimated 15% chance of life for babies born at 24 weeks gestation?” Acknowledging my feelings of guilt allows me to take action, and to recognize and seize the opportunity to move the stagnant energy of guilt into a positive energy of healing, love and action. Healing and wholeness are a process…

buddah

Meditation is a powerful way to transform the energies of feelings! Abundant, diverse and free guided imagery resources are available on YouTube. We loveh The Honest Guys and recommend this Guided Meditation as a tool for transforming guilt into a positive energy.

GUIDED MEDITATION – Overcome Guilt ; The Honest Guys – Published on Aug 9, 2016

Some people find it difficult to overcome guilt, to forgive themselves. This can become a difficult load to bear. This meditation will help you to forgive yourself and leave the guilt behind you.

GUTS                                           lion

1.     Google: (informal) personal courage and determination; toughness of character.

guts

We travel, each of us, on a Hero’s Journey through life. As a Neonatal Womb traveler, we have all been challenged to choose love over fear, staying over fleeing, seeing over denial. Perhaps courage is the act of knowing ourselves deeply, accepting and creating space to experience the wholeness of who we are, and living within the integrity of our beingness with presence and compassion towards ourselves and others. We are a community of Heroes.

joseph

WARRIORS:

Are you familiar with Bethany Hamilton, the surfer who lost her left arm in a shark attack (2003)? Bethany resumed surfing about one month after the accident, and went on to win a national pro surfing title in 2005. Now, at 26 years of age, Bethany, a wife and mother, is an inspiration to many. This influential surfer is quoted as saying ““Courage doesn’t mean you don’t get afraid. Courage means you don’t let fear stop you” and “I don’t want easy, just possible”. Please enjoy this short video about courage, personal experiences, and choices of a young girl.

Bethany Hamilton: Shark Attack–The Real Story

 

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RESOURCES:

Author: Kathy Papac and Kathryn Campos

Kathryn (Kat) Campos: Hello, I am a former 24 week gestation NICU baby. I lost my twin brother Cruz at birth and encountered open heart surgery with no anesthesia at 3 weeks old weighing 1pound 3 ounces. I served on the University of Washington Medical Center Advisory Board Neonatal ICU Council from 2013 to 2015. I am passionate about assisting and supporting our Global NICU Community. If your a Preterm Birth/NICU survivor this blog is dedicated to you, your family, and all members of the NICU Community. Together lets support other NICU Grads, NICU babies, NICU families, NICU staff, and NICU facilities. We have stories to share and NICU journeys to help empower! Kathy Papac: NICU mom of surviving (Kathryn) and a deceased (Cruz) 24 week gestation twins. Neonatal Womb journeyer, counselor/legal expert with an MA certificate in Spirituality, Health and Medicine from Bastyr University. Passionate Global Community participant. Our goal is to recognize, honor and empower the Neonatal Womb community and shine light upon the presence and potentiality of the preterm birth survivors as vital community participants.

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