What If…

I often feel as if I hang in the balance of the “what ifs”.

There are the “what ifs” that didn’t work out in Owen’s favor.

  • What if he hadn’t gotten CMV?  Maybe if I had chosen the unthinkable – to not breastfeed?  Would his course have been different? (You can read this story here)
  • What if I had been seeing a Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor from the start, maybe P17 and/or a cerclage would have helped me stay pregnant longer.
  • What if I had gone in one week earlier when it felt like Owen was kicking my tail bone?  Is that when my cervix started to thin?  Could I have still gotten a cerclage and stayed pregnant longer?
  • What if we had kept Kellen out of school Owen’s first winter home, would that have kept Owen healthier?  Could he be off oxygen today?
  • Kyle often thinks, what if he had helped me paint the boys room and rearrange the furniture – did I do something then?
  • My dad has wondered, what if I hadn’t been chasing Kellen and carrying him as he had a temper tantrum the day before I went into the hospital – did that start the labor?

There are also the “what ifs” that, thankfully did not happen.   Most notably:  what if he had died?

Is it logical for me to think about all these “what ifs”?  No, I know I can’t change what happened and I truly believe I did nothing that caused Owen’s early arrival.

Is it human nature to think about all these “what ifs”?  Yes.

For the most part, I focus on what’s happening and what is in front of me.  But, I will not apologize for the occasional “what if”.  I really can’t imagine that Owen will grow up never wondering how his life would be different had he not been born so soon.  I promise you, my 5’ 7” brother wonders if he would have been taller than his 5’ 10” sister, had he not been born too soon.

If I don’t acknowledge these thoughts exist –   If I do what so many people suggest, and “don’t think that way” (which is really just pretend they aren’t there) – how will I ever be able to help Owen work through his own, “what ifs”?

The feelings are real.  They won’t stop me from helping my son succeed and I can see in Owen that he won’t be stopped from succeeding.  But I do believe, it is okay to admit that the journey of life, is not quite the way I planned.

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

5 thoughts on “What If…

  1. Perfectly said! I have many days of “what ifs” a lot of them occur when I am sitting in the PT or OT/feeding clinic waiting room.

  2. Another wonderful post! I have been struggling with these thoughts lately too. I have always tried to live life without regrets – I honestly think I only have one. I wish I had not been so naive when I was pregnant and I wish I would have questioned my OB more when he said he needed to do a pap smear when I was 12 weeks pregnant with my twins. I thought that was odd but told myself that he was my doctor and I had never been pregnant before so what did I know, right?! I believe that one naive choice is what started this long and difficult journey we have been on – I constantly ask myself “what if” I had been brave enough to say I didn’t feel comfortable with that decision instead of staying quiet…..would I have both of my babies home with me today – would we not have had to spend 150 days in the NICU? I learned from that experience however and I never had any other things done during the rest of my pregnancy that didn’t feel right in my gut or that wasn’t absolutely safe for my baby. Thanks again for speaking exactly what I’ve been feeling!

  3. Well said. I still go through all the “what ifs”. I know that it won’t change anything, but I also think it’s totally and completely normal to go through it. There are so many things about our journey that we just have to go through, it’s part of the process. Hiding them away or pretending they don’t exist doesn’t do anything. I HATED when people told me not to think about the what ifs, or to “think positively”, um hello, I just got the “your babies aren’t viable, there’s nothing we can do at this point” speech…give me a minute to process it!! I’ve totally been here 🙂

  4. I agree Tatum- I had and have so many what-ifs with my twins. What if I didn’t listen to my OB when she said it was too late for a cerclage and I called the Perinatologists instead. What if we pushed to have Sonoma’s PDA ligation prior to it getting so bad that it could be when she got a brain bleed and now her cp. what if my body “cooperated” during pregnancy? I have so many what ifs from the twins that I went into my second pregnancy committing to myself that I wouldn’t do anything that would cause me to have a what if later. And I’m proud that I did that.

    Thank you as always for sharing.

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