I have a terrible tendency to dwell on the past. I question my decisions. I wish I had said something else. I wish I had done something differently. I think about it all the time. To the point where I don't always appreciate the present because I am worried about what already happened instead of what is happening. I feel like I am not fully engaged in the present and that just gives me more to look back on and regret.
When I finally got pregnant, I wished I had handled infertility differently. I wished I had gone to an RE sooner. I wished I had found this blogging community and started this blog before my first IVF and not my third. I regretted not going to the support group sooner so I could have actually connected with people going through the same hell I was. Instead, I just kept withdrawing further into myself. I felt sorry for myself and very alone. I shut people out which only made the situation worse. I was completely emotionally detached by the time I started my 3rd round of IVF. I couldn't handle any more disappointment so I just shut down. I think I am still clawing my way out of that place and trying to connect with people and the world again. I got really used to keeping people at arm's length and I'm not sure how to let them back in again.
Now that I'm not pregnant anymore, I find myself looking back and wishing I had handled pregnancy differently. I felt really disconnected from my pregnancy a lot of the time. I wouldn't say I was afraid. Sure, I was painfully aware of how many things could go wrong, but I think I was strangely confident that it was going to work out. I held my breath a little at the beginning of each ultrasound until I saw both heartbeats, but I wouldn't say I was overly anxious. Or maybe I was and I just dealt with it by continuing to be a little (a lot?) detached. I wish I would have been as excited for myself as other people were for me. Why didn't I take weekly bump pictures like I planned? I wish I hadn't been so hesitant to talk about my pregnancy with the people who were constantly asking me about it. I wish I had blogged more so I would have a record of it all.
I have been desperately trying to remember how it felt to be pregnant. How it felt to carry around that huge bump. How it felt when the girls moved. But, I can't. I can't bring up the physical memory and that makes me a little sad. (I'm sure that's nature's way of ensuring the continuation of the species. I probably wouldn't feel nostalgic for pregnancy if I actually could remember how it felt.) It feels like such a distant memory now. Yet, instead of letting it go and moving on to the next phase, I dwell. I can't let it go.
I need to stop this pattern. I want to live in the present with my girls. I don't want to look back and regret that I wasn't fully present. I already feel myself starting to think of things I can regret (why didn't I get newborn photos taken? did I try hard enough to make breastfeeding work?). I am making a conscious effort to stop worrying about the past or the housework that needs to be done or how we are going to manage teenage girls and social media. I am trying to stop and enjoy this time. It's a crazy, exhausting whirlwind but it's going to be over before I know it and I don't want to miss any of it. I want to be the mother that they deserve.
I can't change the past no matter how many times I replay it in my head. I can only learn from it and try not to make the same mistakes. The fact is, everything that has happened to me and all the decisions I have made (both good and bad) have led me to where I am today. While my life is far from perfect, I have SH and my miracle baby girls, and I wouldn't change that for anything.