They Should Have Done Better

I invite you to to free-write about every scenario that comes to mind when you read these words. For example, here are some of mine:

After Alfie was born, the midwives should have given me better postnatal guidance. They should have showed me what abdominal exercises were safe to do. They should have advised me on how far I could walk.

At the party, they should have mentioned Alfie. They should have raised a glass to him.  

The fertility clinic should have known to order more medication. They should have realised the nearby pharmacy didn’t stock what we needed.

“They should have done better.”

Once you’ve written about some scenarios where this thought arises for you, take the first statement you’ve written and contemplate this:

Can you absolutely know it would have been better for you if they’d done what you think is best?

Are you 100% certain?

You might answer with an immediate, “Yes, of course!”, but take your time. Is there the teeniest tiniest possibility that changing reality WOULDN’T be better for you?

Test it out. Write down reasons why what they did had benefits for you. If reasons don’t come immediately, stay with this a little longer, pondering your scenarios with as much stillness as possible.

Here come mine:

Because I wasn’t given good postnatal guidance from the hospital, I turned to a personal trainer friend for help and it was bonding for us. In fact, she went on to become a coaching client of mine as a result of us spending more time together.

Because they didn’t advise me on exercise, I walked quite far one day shortly after giving birth and ended up in some discomfort. As a result, I took myself along to the maternity hospital for a checkup and had my first internal examination since giving birth; the examination was surprisingly okay and because I got ‘back on the horse’ so soon, I didn’t hold on to fear of a speculum.

Because most people didn’t mention Alfie at the party, I noticed the one person who did. I felt extra bonded with her and her mentioning him felt all the more special.

Because the fertility clinic left us without enough medication, we had to do a last-minute run through London to find another pharmacy on a crazy hot day and it’s one of our IVF stories that gives me a sense of how strong we were in dealing with every obstacle. It also meant that when the next two rounds of IVF went smoothly with the medication side, it felt like such a relief!

As I let my mind open to these unexpected benefits, I see that each person acting differently from my expectations wasn’t necessarily ‘worse’ and the way I wanted reality to go wouldn’t necessarily have been ‘better’. I can’t be sure. But what I can be sure of is that it’s stressful to believe, “They should have done better” and that without the thought I can more easily let the past stay in the past.

How did you get on with today’s inquiry? I’d love you to leave a comment below and let me know.


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