When a woman finds out she's pregnant, she will likely experience a wide array of feelings. For women who have been trying to get pregnant, they may feel extremely excited. For women who weren't trying, the feeling can be more like fear. Either way, most every woman feels just a twinge of regret over dreams not yet fulfilled or bad decisions made so far during the pregnancy.
Mom guilt and regret is something to get used to because it happens throughout parenting, but many are surprised to find that it starts as early as the first positive pregnancy test. Women may suddenly feel like they aren't ready to have kids or like they've already messed up as parents, and other women don't know how to deal with the shock of an unexpected pregnancy.
Dealing with these feelings is key, and it's also important to understand why these regrets occur and what we can do about them. Even a woman who is excited to have a child can struggle with regrets and wondering about all the what ifs. It's normal, but it can taint the first part of the pregnancy for women who thought it would be excitement from start to finish.
Becoming a mother is a life-changing experience like no other, so it's normal to look back at the life before pregnancy and have regrets. It's also normal to have concerns about irresponsible behavior that may have already taken place during the pregnancy. Here are some of the biggest regret issues women struggle with.
15 Boozing It Up
Women often don't know they are pregnant in the early days of pregnancy, but their behavior in those early weeks can have a profound effect on their babies. That's why women who are of childbearing age but who don't want to have kids should make sure contraceptive is used every time they engage in sexual activity. A woman who isn't ready to have a baby isn't going to be thinking along the lines of taking precautions in case she is pregnant.
That's why the first thought in some new moms' minds after seeing the line on the pregnancy test is one of fear and shock. Women who don't find out they are pregnant until after a couple of missed periods may be horrified to realize they have consumed large amounts of alcohol while their babies were developing major organs.
The best thing to do is to quit drinking immediately and call the doctor for a check-up. It's possible for a baby to be unharmed, even if mom did drink. If there are problems, a doctor can let mom know right away.
14 Forgetting Folic Acid
Prenatal vitamins are so important that there used to be a recommendation that all women of childbearing age take them just in case they got pregnant. However, due to concerns over taking in that much folic acid over a long period of time, researchers have said they aren't sure that is the answer.
The problem is that folic acid is so important to a child in those early days, and if mom doesn't know she is pregnant and isn't taking a good prenatal vitamin, her baby stands a higher risk of being born with neural tube defects. We don't get enough folic acid in our food, so a prenatal vitamin is the best way for mom to make sure she is covered.
Moms who find out they are pregnant need to immediately start taking one, and they don't need to panic. What's done is done, and the best way to go forward is with as little stress as possible, seeing a doctor or midwife to make sure everything is okay.
13 Staying Put
Life is not over when mom has kids, but she will find that traveling around the world takes much more planning with littles in tow. That's why a regret that many moms have is not taking advantage of traveling when they were unencumbered.
Traveling while pregnant is possible, but many women don't have the energy for it or don't want to use time off that will need to be saved for after the birth. It's also important for women who travel while pregnant to choose where they go wisely. Countries with high reports of Zika virus are a no, as are other places that can pose a risk to pregnant women.
It will likely be a while before mom feels like traveling with a child, and it won't be the same experience when she does. In some ways it will be richer, sharing travel with a child and seeing it through their eyes. However, screaming babies on planes are not relaxing, and that is something moms have to contend with.
12 Letting The Cash Go
Babies aren't cheap. Starting with prenatal care and childbirth, moms watch a ton of their cash flow head straight towards having a child, and it can be a bit frightening. Many women regret not having more money in the bank before the baby is on board.
It is possible to raise a child without going overboard in the spending department, but there are certain things that must be paid for. Essential items like car seats, formula or a breast pump, and a crib for a baby to sleep in can get pricey. Don't even get us started on diapers and wipes.
Daycare also comes with an astronomical price tag, and it's harder to put money back after the baby arrives since most of mom's paychecks will go to supporting the child. Other money regrets include not paying off as much debt as possible or spending on unneeded items without thinking about what that money could have been used for later.
11 Giving Up Sleep Voluntarily
Ask almost any mom what they miss about their pre-baby life and the answer is likely to have something to do with sleep. New moms want sleep, and they regret not napping or resting as much as possible before they had a child who wouldn't allow it.
Though people say sleep when the baby sleeps, babies' sleep schedules are weird. Plus, many women use the time when the baby is asleep to catch up on things they want to do because they have no other time to themselves. That means sleep is the elusive gift women seek while their kids are small, and it even starts before the baby arrives since all mom will want to do the first trimester is rest.
It's easy to look back at the pre-pregnancy days and see where we squandered rest time, burning the midnight oil and not seeing a point in naps. Looking back at these moments is hard for newly pregnant women because they can't go back and get the much-needed shut eye they desire.
10 All That Time Outdoors
Being outside is good for us most of the time, but pregnant women have to be aware of their surroundings for many reasons. One of the biggest is the Zika virus, a condition that can cause birth defects and is passed through mosquitoes.
Because of Zika being on the rise in certain areas, pregnant women are encouraged to stay inside during hours when mosquitoes roam the most or to use a repellent that is safe during pregnancy. However, if a woman doesn't know she is pregnant, she may not be properly protecting herself from this condition.
Don't panic. When a woman finds out she is pregnant and is also covered in mosquito bites, she should talk to her doctor about her risks and decide how to proceed. In many areas Zika isn't enough of a threat for a woman to freak out about, but it is a concern that mom needs to keep in her mind once she knows she is with child.
9 Letting The Big Project Die
Most people have that one big, creative thing they want to do in their lives. It may be writing a novel or creating a work of art. Whatever it is, most women hope to finish it before they get pregnant because time is seriously difficult to find when a kid comes along.
It's true that many artists and creators are moms, and kids can inspire us in ways that have a profound effect on our art. However, when women first find out they are pregnant, they often wish they had finished their big dream project before focusing on pregnancy. It always seems like we will have time to go back and work on it when we feel inspired, but when babies arrive, it's not quite that simple.
Let motherhood be a muse, and don't give up on the big dreams. It's okay to have regrets about not having more completed before becoming a mom, but don't let motherhood wipe out other goals.
8 Nookie With No Protection
Obviously, a woman who gets pregnant unexpectedly may immediately regret the unprotected intimacy that caused the pregnancy. While in the moment the idea of having relations seems like a good one, it can become a problem if the act results in a child that mom wasn't planning on having with a person she doesn't know that well.
There's also the issue of sexually transmitted infections(STIs) to contend with. If unprotected sex led to a pregnancy, it may have also led to an STI that can affect mom and the pregnancy.
Most STIs can be treated, and mom and the baby will be fine. However, others can be passed from mom to baby during birth, and they can pose risks to a newborn. It's necessary to get tested for STIs when mom finds out she's pregnant, especially if she and her partner were not in a monogamous relationship when the baby was conceived.
7 No Ring On It
If mom wanted dad to put a ring on it and that didn't happen, she may feel a bit out of sorts when she finds out she is pregnant. Many women want the stability of a long-term relationship for their children, and not having that going into a pregnancy can be scary. That's why many moms regret not making their intentions clear before becoming pregnant.
Sometimes a pregnancy will push a couple closer together, finally offering the commitment that was desired. However, this can leave mom feeling like the situation occurred because of the baby and not because of a true desire to be together. It's a question many women have even after the baby is born, and it can haunt a relationship.
Discussing long-term relationship plans is important, especially if mom and her partner are having unprotected sex. Anything can happen, and having a plan in place helps ensure the beginning of the pregnancy will be a bit less stressful.
6 Skipping The Blood Work
That exhausted feeling mom has the first trimester can usually be blamed on pregnancy. Unfortunately, it can also be blamed on other health issues that mom should be screened for before the pregnancy. If mom wasn't trying to get pregnant or if she didn't think it was likely, she may have skipped the super important check-up that comes before conceiving.
During these check-ups, moms are tested to see if their thyroids are functioning properly. This is an important test because untreated thyroid disease can cause major problems for the baby. Miscarriages can occur, and babies can suffer from birth defects if mom's thyroid is not working properly. The earliest days of pregnancy are the biggest threat when it comes to thyroid issues.
Moms who skipped that check-up will want to make sure they go in immediately for testing. Catching problems early is the best way to move forward.
5 Not Finding The True You
Becoming a mother comes with its own form of identity crisis. When we become mothers, how do we balance the other parts of who we are? How do we follow our passions and focus on our kids? Where's the balance?
Even a mom who has a very strong sense of self will have these feelings, so it's especially difficult for a woman who feels like she doesn't know herself before the baby even arrives. For women still trying to find their identity, pregnancy can throw a kink in the plan. The mom part is about to be decided for them, but what if they never discover their other passions?
The good news is that motherhood tends to clarify who we are, and it helps us focus on what we truly want out of life. That can help us find our identity and eliminate some of the doubt about ourselves.
4 Delaying Educational Decisions
Going to college is not for everyone, but for the woman who does want to go, finding out about a pregnancy can be a bit of an unpleasant shock. While there are plenty of moms who go to school after their babies arrive, they will attest to the fact that it is much more difficult to do homework while nursing an infant.
Some women thought they would be finished with their graduate degrees before a baby came along, or that they would have used their education to further their job security. Pregnancy throws those plans off course.
It's normal to look back at what we wish we would have done, but this one is still possible. Online courses make college available, even if we are on a mom schedule. Plus, some scholarships and financial aid are geared towards parents, helping with the financial strain of having a baby and going to school
3 Past Judgmental Behavior
Judging others pretty much always comes back to bite us. That is never truer than when a woman gets pregnant and remembers the lack of sympathy she had for other pregnant women who were exhausted and overwhelmed by morning sickness.
It's easy to think that the first trimester can't be that bad. I mean, there's not even a bump yet. However, women find out they are pregnant and then usually start feeling the effects if they weren't already. They are so tired it's hard to move, and many struggle with nausea that lasts for months. Suddenly, these pregnant women understand what the women before them were going through.
It's okay to feel a bit of guilt and then let it go because we don't know what it's like until we're going through it. However, this serves as a great lesson about not judging another parents' feeding choices, sleeping arrangements, or pacifier decisions.
2 No Benefit Verification
It's a good idea to verify pregnancy benefits before a woman gets pregnant. While some countries require certain amounts of maternity leave be offered, others don't, and the employers set the rules in some countries. That means mom may think she has maternity leave, but she could find out once she is pregnant that she needs to work at her job for a certain amount of time before becoming pregnant to qualify.
Insurance benefits for the cost of the birth are important to know about as well. How much will mom have to pay out-of-pocket, and what happens if she needs a C-section? Knowing this information gives mom enough time to save up and prepare for the birth. Women who don't know any of this before they conceive may be in for some ugly surprises.
Call a person who manages benefits and check on all of the details prior to pregnancy, because many women regret skipping this step once they find out they are pregnant.
1 Eating That Sushi
There are actually quite a few foods on the restricted list once mom is pregnant, but many women don't know this until after they are pregnant. Suddenly they are flipping through books about being pregnant, and they notice that certain fish, cheese, and deli meats are off limits. By then mom has usually consumed a bit of all of it.
The risk with food is that it can carry bacteria that can harm the baby. It's not likely, but doctors tell women to err on the side of caution and just eliminate foods that carry risks. The problem is that mom may crave something before she knows she's pregnant, so she eats it and then realizes later it was a pregnancy craving. If a food is on the offending list, mom will probably be worried.
This usually isn't an issue, so mom can move forward and try to avoid possible food problems for the rest of the pregnancy.