Moving on from the NICU
It has been a year and a half since our son came home from the NICU. So much has happened since then, some bad, but mainly a lot of good. Yet, I still find myself replaying those days, hours, and minutes leading up to the hospital, while we were in it, and months after.
I still try to go back and “do it better.” I still rehearse speeches to doctors, and play out the process trying to make it better somehow. We were not easy parents in the hospital. We asked a million questions, we objected to things that were “standard practice”, and we fought it all like a battle.
Even when Finn came home, the battle wasn’t over. He had trouble gaining weight and I wanted more than anything to be able to breastfeed him so I pushed it and pushed it until the pediatrician said those fearful words, “failure to thrive,” and I would have fed him pig fat through a hose if it would have helped him gain weight.
So I think about that. And think how I failed him and possibly hurt him because of MY desire to breastfeed. I play it over and try to rewrite it, but guess what guys, you can’t rewrite history. No matter how many times you play it out over and over in your head, it does not change how it actually went down. No amount of storytelling in your brain can actually change the past.
So I’ve tried to stop doing that. When the thoughts creep in I push them out and instead try to think about how good things are now, or what great things I have planned for the future. I try to focus on gratitude for the present and excitement for the future instead of wallowing over the past. This is easier said than done. My brain is trained to go there, especially in the night when I’ve been woken up, but it is possible.
Thinking about the past does not make anything better. I have taken the lessons, I know what I would do differently should we ever face a similar challenge, but running the reel over and over does not help me, or my Finn, or my husband, or anyone else. The only thing we have is what’s happening now, and what is to come.
So if you are still fighting the past like I was; if you are trying to rewrite your history, or are wallowing in your guilt for not having acted perfectly, I encourage you to stop. I encourage you to write it out one time, or speak it to someone you trust one more time, and then let it go. It doesn’t serve you anymore. It is past. Fill your thoughts with appreciation for how good things are now and all you have to look forward to.