The double-edged sword of “What If.”

WHAT IF can keep you dwelling on the past, treading water, living with regret.  But, WHAT IF can also propel you forward, risking steps into unknown territory, creating possibility.

We hear it all the time:

WHAT IF I’d caught that bus instead of just missing it?

WHAT IF I’d gotten that promotion?

WHAT IF I hadn’t spilled coffee on my blouse?

What if?

Well…..

What if I hadn’t gotten pregnant in February?

What if I hadn’t had that miscarriage in March?

What if that first IVF would have worked?

But I did, and I did, and well, it didn’t.  But I at least got to show my husband a positive pregnancy test and share that joy, and because of that miscarriage I saw a new depth of compassion in my husband and our marriage is stronger because we weathered that storm together, and due to that first IVF kapootzing I know what coming at this next time. I mean, I’m real good at giving myself shots, y’all.

What if I try to look for opportunity instead of failure when things go an unexpected or unwanted way?  What if I look forward instead of back.

Dwelling on the failure aspects of these questions for a few minutes here and there is one thing, but giving hours or weeks to them means that I’m treading water: these events are behind me and I can’t manipulate them into something they aren’t because I didn’t get what I wanted.

Is that it? Is that why we live with regret? Is it because we didn’t get our way?

Well I didn’t get my way. It sucks. I’m disappointed. I hate it.

And what about:

What if I’d met my husband when I was younger?

What if I’d never moved to Chicago?

What if my parents hadn’t divorced when I was 13?

Well then I’d be someone else, right? And I don’t really want to be someone else.  I mean I wish my thighs were less ample, there were a few dudes that I should’ve known better about way sooner, and of course there were some key times when I wish I’d just kept my big mouth shut, but other than that….I’m doing okay.

What if….can create opportunity and excitement.

I mean, What If I get pregnant this next IVF? What if I book a national commercial? What if my husband gets a new job and we move?

Yes, in my past there’s been heartache and worry and regret. I have mourned, I have grieved, I have given energy to negativity. And then those events gradually move from being my present into being my past.

Because what if something is coming that i need to be ready for?

What if I shut myself off and I’m not even watching?

What if I MISS SOMETHING?

I miscarried in March but don’t really know how far along I’d be if I was still pregnant. I know when I was due and when that day comes I’m curious as to how I’ll feel. My miscarriage was early at 7 weeks, but I was definitely attached and devastated when it ended.  But I can’t keep something alive that isn’t. I lost that baby because that baby wasn’t meant to be. I didn’t do anything wrong – didn’t drink a 5th of Jack or compete in a rodeo pogostick contest. I rested. I ate well. I took very good care of myself. It just stopped growing, likely due to chromosomal issues. For me to dwell on “What If I was still pregnant” is a delay of game on what still lies ahead of me.  I’d be investing my energy on something I can’t change rather than taking steps towards making the future what I want.

And that brings us to a “What If” I’ve recently chosen for myself:

What if I change my attitude towards pregnant ladies? For awhile I felt like I was encountering them everywhere as if the universe was mocking me, putting something in my path that I couldn’t have for myself, making me have rain when I wanted sunshine.

But WHAT IF the universe is simply pointing out what I myself will someday be.  WHAT IF the universe is providing me with a fashion show of how I should and should not dress myself as a pregnant lady?  WHAT IF I need to keep seeing the joy because seeing the joy makes me feel a lot better than seeing the regret.

And:WHAT IF I never get pregnant?

But, What If I do….

What if, right?

What if.

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