Friday, 22 March 2013

Regrets - I've Had a Few

I came across this very thought provoking collection of stories on The Guardian website today. For those of us who have had our babies prematurely or poorly I think regret is something we live with daily.

Three years ago the question "what is your biggest regret as a parent?" would have been simple to answer. "Not carrying to term".

Now my life has changed its hard to regret that, in a sense. I have a happy healthy almost four year old boy, who is in sound health. I have a career that I love, and a happy life really.

Two years ago that question would have been easy too "not enjoying him as a baby enough". I didn't keep diaries but I did keep the blog and a good record on Facebook and Twitter and plenty of photos. I have lots of stories and anecdotes. I did enjoy Joseph's baby time and early toddler time. Yes it was marred by mental health problems to some extent, but we had a ball.

I found reading these stories really intriguing. Funny regrets like shouting at teenagers in a cinema thus causing the reader's daughter to never ever go and see a movie with her mother again, to regretting adoption of a baby.

For those of us who have had a premature baby, I think along with letting go of guilt, letting go of regret is a very difficult thing to do. It's only as the years have unfolded and our journey has continued, that really, I have nothing to regret. There was nothing I could do to change Joseph's early arrival. I did the best I could when he was in hospital. I regret having little support or advice.

Regret is a sad emotion. Regretting what we have done, or what we haven't is so futile. However, I am in a place now to help others, and prevent some of those regrets for other parents. Regret is, therefore, in some respects, not a worthless emotion, it can be a power for good, to try and change the future if not for ourselves, for others. 

 I feel sad for some of these families, and happy too, for example one mother regrets tipping a bowl of spaghetti over her daughter's head. Probably not a bright move, but if that is the only thing I have to regret once Joseph is an adult, I will be happy.

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