WHAT IF?

A friend of mine said that her pediatrician told her that your goal as a parent to a newly mobile child is to keep them from killing themselves. I had to laugh, but thought about how true this is. As mobility looms ever so intimidating on the horizon, I realize we have some work ahead of us in limiting the hazards within our house. We’re not going to be able to prevent every bump, bruise or fall, but I hope by taking some precautions like getting the coffee table out of our house will at least prevent a trip to the ER for stitches. Almost everyone who has spent any time in our house has removed a chunk of flesh from their legs after running against the glass top corners of the coffee table. I’ve labeled it a baby killer and plans for its removal are imminent.

Another thing this makes me think about is a question I often see on blogs from newly pregnant moms – “when will I stop worrying and just enjoy this pregnancy?” I’ve seen lots of different answers, but I think the real answer is never; no matter what, you will always have concern for the wellbeing of your children, regardless of their age. For me, in the early days of pregnancy, I was concerned about vanishing twin syndrome and it wasn’t until I was about 11 weeks along that I really started be confident in having two babies. I didn’t go public with my pregnancy until I was 14 weeks because I was scared that as soon as I told the masses, something bad would happen. So, I finally got comfortable enough to tell people when a week later I started bleeding and was horrified that I was having a miscarriage and was going to have to grieve publically. I found each opportunity to hear their heartbeats a wonderfully reassuring gift and was even more excited when I finally got to feel them swimming around. While it wasn’t always comfortable, it was reassuring to feel Grant’s head push up into my ribcage as he stretched out after his morning and afternoon naps.

When my sister-in-law was pregnant, we had a “viability” party with “V” shaped cookies and pomegranate “mock-tails” when she hit 24 weeks. I was happy when we hit the 24 week mark and also indulged in some viability cookies. I don’t want people to think that I walk around paralyzed by worry, because I don’t. However, always in the back of my mind is that “what if” question. When pregnant, it was “what if I miscarried” or “what if they come early.” Now, if they’ve been asleep longer than normal it’s “what if they stopped breathing.” One night during baths, Maria decided to dive headfirst off her bath sling and went under water…what if I wasn’t right there?

What’s the moral of all this rambling? It’s that our job as parents is to do our best to protect our children each and every day of their lives and to celebrate the little milestones. The “what ifs” are always going to be there and we aren’t guaranteed a life without trials, but in spite of this, we can always celebrate. Whether it’s the first positive pregnancy test, making it off the progesterone shots, getting through the first trimester, making it to viability, surviving an early birth, being surprised by an unexpected dive under water, or newfound mobility, celebrate.

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