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Posted on Jun 26, 2012

After the Accident- When Mom Feels Guilty for Not Keeping Her Baby Safe

After the Accident- When Mom Feels Guilty for Not Keeping Her Baby Safe


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walking away from it, kobi’s got the bike, solai and i limping around….

Letting it sink in, and avoiding it at the same time. I feel like crying, like beating myself up for not keeping my baby girl safe. I did this to her- sort of thing keeps rising up and choking me. She’s fine, thank God; but my poor judgement put her in harm’s way. So, here we’re sitting in the restaurant, laughing about it (cuz who really wants to take life that seriously?)ย  and trying to see that all’s well, we’re safe, learned some good lessons and now, we’re ready to move on (but slowly).

You can watch the movie minutes after Kobi and my 20 best Cambodian friends scraped me off the road or, better yet, read the blog entry sharing all the details ofย  before and after the accident.

Isn’t that what we all want? To keep our kids safe?

Isn’t that what would end every war and military conflict in the world? If the people and the governments of the world just made decisions based on what would keep their children safe?

That’s what I want: to keep my children safe. And here, I can’t quite talk yet cuz I recognize that coming up are things that are not going to help us right now. Why did she shift her weight so much from side to side? If she didn’t maybe I would have focused more. And her to me- why didn’t my mom keep me safe? I trusted my mom and she didn’t look left, right, left, right, left…. she just breezed into danger, with me hanging onto her.

So, after this video, we talked, a lot. All of us. I cried and shared how I felt so bad. Kobi hugged me, a lot. I hugged Solai, a lot, a lot. And then, we laughed, a bit more.

Spent the last three days with nausea, aching muscles and joints, and an ass on fire. Spent the last three days, watching my bruises and confusion (and my guilt) subside, slowly. Spent the last three days forgiving myself for being who I am, even in my stupidest moments. Spent the last three days, really grateful for the angels that kept us safe when the motorcycle hit us. Will likely spend the rest of my life learning more about what life on the road has taught me. I can accept that.

You know this is the time and place to leave your comments. You know that this is where you say, “Gabi, I know how you feel. I’ve also made poor judgements, but we’re all learning” or “You stupid bitch. Stop daydreaming when you’ve got a precious child to keep safe! ”

Come one, bring it on. I want to hear it, and I can handle it- your love and your criticism.

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the blog in your inbox, and our YouTube channel. We’d be honored to have you with us.



  1. It’s easy for me a half a world away to tell you not to feel guilty. We all know that you didn’t mean for this to happen, that it was just an accident, that it could’ve happened to anyone. But I also know that I’d feel guilty, too. I know how hard it is to not feel guilty when it comes to the health of your child. All of your guilt, though, has clearly led to a lot of introspection, which is always good. It seems like you’ve learned a lot. That’s about all you can do at this point aside from applying more Tiger Balm. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • You are a dear. You are. Maybe I can apply the tiger balm to my guilt….. doing much better now. really.

  2. Forgive yourself! I love the honesty in your video, but things happen in life that we can’t always control so give yourself a break! You’re human! And you survived! And later, it’ll be a story to tell. Take care of yourselves and each other!

    • oh Andrea. How nice to hear the kind words of others. The guilt- it’s mine, I know. I’m almost over it, just pinches, you know. but, i also believe that everything happens for a reason, so we’re learning things, and are preventing other things that may have otherwise occurred in the future. i crossed the street today to buy some fruit in the market, by foot, and felt my heart flutter. “Gabi, chill. It’s a street. Don’t make it something it’s not…” So, no more drama. i’ll be up and exercising again really really soon. ๐Ÿ™‚ thanks for taking the time to comment

  3. Your friends wrote so nice comments that I don’t have much to add.
    It’s ok to be upset,to cry, to feel guilt. I bet Solai, Orazi and Dahnya are so happy that Mom is fine.
    Be good to yourself too.

    • thank you sefi. it’s a universal place of caring for each other, of knowing how that feels to feel bad. we all know it. thank you. doing the right soul work and it’s all passing as it should. no drama about it, slowly. thank you sefi. love having you there for me, here with us in our travels. gabi

  4. Ok, Gabi, here goes! Let it all go, it seriously is no big deal. The fact that you care and want to be suer to never be negligent for even a minute means the world. Things happen and most everything is for some deeper meaning. I am sure you all bonded and talked things out and had wonderful momenst in the face of all this. And non of those tears and hugs would have happened if the accident didn’t.

    We are all over careful! Always worried something like this may happen and so not really living! Things happen, none of it was on purpose, so take a few minutes to meditate on that and forgive yourself! The universe gave you all exactly what you needed at the moment even if it seemed terrible at the time!

    • oh mary. thank you for caring dear. i can actually hear you saying these words. i can hear it, in your full-of-light and love and joy spirit. i can hear it. i know. i agree. we need to (and we personally, like you, let) our kids and ourselves not be too careful. what a waste of good life to walk around on egg-shells and with cotton-lined barriers. so i took it a bit far…. daydreaming while entering a very busy intersection. cool. i can accept that.

      i love all that you said about the Universe giving us exactly what we needed. I so agree. By the way, I think you will totally, totally, totally, actually, i KNOW that you will love my new ‘towards enlightenment’ site. it so vibrates in your frequency.

      thank you for being there. the universe is bringing us exactly what we need. i bow to that. wanna smoke? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Just came across your blog. Know someone else who is travelling in Cambodia at the moment whose been run over by a motorbike and recently found out she’s broken three ribs. Hope you guys got checked out by the docs – especially the little one!

    • hi jasmine! so glad you found us. please tell me how you found us. i love hearing all the random ways our paths get to meet with other beautiful souls. it was so scary but i’m better. my daughter is fine, my ass, every few days, i think it is getting a tiny bit better. i’m very not into doctors so unless things get really worse, i’ll stick it out. was your friend in pain the entire time? i don’t think you can do anything to help ribs right? motorcycles+ cambodia= accidents?

  6. I understand so well how you feel about the accident. When my youngest child was 18 months old, we were having a celebration with family over. My little girl was standing by the dining room table one minute, and was screaming in pain the next moment. Her dress was wet and hot. It turned out that my mother had made a cup of coffee in the microwave, unbeknownst to me and set it on the table. My baby pulled the mug to her out of curiosity and spilled this VERY hot cup of coffee all over her arms and chest. Fortunately I had been an EMT years earlier and knew to immediately get her clothes off and her in cool water. We got her to the emergency room, and though I’d held it together for every moment that I’d been holding her and taking care of her, the moment they took her away from me to weigh her, I utterly lost it. And then this stranger appeared in the door of the exam room. She was a woman about a decade older than myself, and she said to me – “I’m sorry to intrude, but I heard what happened to your baby, and I wanted to tell you that the same thing happened to my son when he was about her age, except it was my mother-in-law and it was a cup of tea. He’s 14 years old, and he doesn’t have a scar anywhere on his body now. I just wanted you to know that.” I have of course never seen or heard from that lady again, and I have no idea what her name is. But she was the angel that I needed at that moment. She made me feel better about what happened, about my daughter’s future with this injury, and just plain old like I wasn’t alone at that moment. I will always be in debt to that kind stranger who knew just what to say to me. And sure enough, my beautiful daughter is now 17 years old and has not a scar anyplace from that day. She is now an EMT herself and just yesterday responded to a call for a 3 year old girl burned by fireworks. She texted me and said – “even though I don’t actually remember my burn, this reminds me of it”.
    Your accident will just be a piece of family history in the future, like ours is.

    • dear laurel,

      thank you for taking the time to write such a meaningful and personal response. thank you. wow. i can see/feel the entire burnt child story you share and (having had a close-call burnt water story ourselves when our eldest was a few weeks shy of 3) i totally understand that fear. god, my child will be ‘the one with the burnt face’. god. i’m sooo glad nothing’s left. your baby deserves to be her most beautiful self. so, it will become a piece of our family’s history. i can accept that, gladly. my kids still don’t want to cross the street with me, they have to learn to trust my judgement again.ok, i can accept that too. laurel, please tell me how you found us dear. i always love to learn how the randomness of it all brings us new friends. hugs to you, and again, thank you for taking the time to send me your caring words. from one mom to another, gabi

  7. You’re human Gabi, that’s all it is. You love your children and want to do everything in your power to protect them. Yes, you know in your brain that you can’t protect them from everything, but that doesn’t diminish the desire to do so one iota.

    You remind me so much of myself a few years ago. My boys were just turning two when we visited Vietnam. At one point I took them and headed off to an outdoor market and, as we descended down some old rickety steps down the hillside, my foot dropped into a hole and I started falling. It was one of those slow-motion falls where you KNOW you’re going down, but there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it.

    I had Daryl in my arms and was falling directly toward him. In my effort to protect him, I twisted as I fell and – with my foot wedged in the hole – screwed up my foot. I knew the moment it happened that something bad had happened to my foot but what really, REALLY scared me was the simple fact that I had ALMOST fallen on my precious baby. I didn’t care about the foot, just the fact that I had nearly hurt my baby – that I hadn’t protected him like I should have.

    When I think back upon it now, I can see the hilarity in the situation but at the time I didn’t see it at all. I sat down on the steps and started bawling and Daryl, who had just fallen with me, was bawling. And Davy, hearing his mother and brother crying hysterically, started crying as well. That’s the scene my husband and his friend encountered when they came down the steps a few moments later.

    As it happened, my foot really was messed up (but is fine now) and my near-miss didn’t harm my sons at all. I can look back upon that moment and know I did everything I could have at the time and that accidents happen. You will eventually have that perspective, but for now give yourself permission to cry. And cry. And cry some more. Wallow in self-pity and blame yourself for not protecting your daughter more and all that. And then pick yourself by your bootstraps and move on. You’ll be fine and so will she.


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