We all have regrets about life and things we wish had gone differently. Hindsight is 20/20 they say, and after we are old enough to reflect on the past a bit, the saying seems to prove itself to be true, over and over. Pregnancy is really no different. It's nine months of constant change, with a pregnant woman's brain struggling to keep up with the constant evolution of her body, mind, and soul.
She's getting larger, perhaps moodier,and is either sick to her stomach or ravenous. Pregnancy is often a time of black or white with no grey to be seen, and everything feels like a BIG deal. Choice of car seats, baby monitors, and whether to breastfeed or formula feed are heavy on the mind of a mother to be, and sometimes it all feels a bit too much to handle.
Pregnancy is a time when the stakes feel high. We want to do it right, get it right- because someone else's life is being affected. We don't know our baby yet, but we know we love him or her- and we desperately want to be good at this mom thing, long before we wear the title of Mother.
And so, after it is all over, after the delivery and the recovery, after the fog of sleep deprivation has slowly lifted, we are left with things that upon reflection, we wish we had done better, or differently. This is the life of a mother, a constant reflection upon what she could have, should have, would have done, if she had the chance to do it all again.
Here are 15 things most women regret about pregnancy:
15 Not Questioning the Doctor About Birth Method
While most doctors think they know best for their patients and are making decisions based on their patients' well being, it is important for pregnant women to know that they always have the option of questioning a doctor's opinion on what is best for their bodies and babies.
When a doctor recommends a medically necessary C-section or induction, and has good reason for the chosen procedure, it is absolutely okay for a woman to trust her doctor's decision and go forward with his or her plan.
One of the women I spoke to for this article expressed sadness and regret that she had allowed her doctor to pressure her into being induced instead of letting "nature take its course." Her baby girl was born healthy and without complications, but her birthing experience was not what she had hoped for, and reflecting on it years later, she regretted not asking the doctor why he felt so strongly that she needed an induction.
This might not have seemed like a big deal at the time, but it is often in retrospect that mothers can see things they wish they would have handled differently. Birth is an experience that is often remembered in vivid detail, and it is important that mothers have a say in the way that their children come into this world.
14 Not Taking Enough Pictures
Sure, pregnancy can make a woman feel many things, and beautiful may not be one of them. After giving birth however, she will most likely regret that she did not document this amazing time in her life nearly as well as she should have.
A monthly photo of a growing pregnant body to track its progress is a good way to ensure that you are documenting the journey to motherhood consistently- but it is important to include everything. During my first pregnancy I wouldn't take a photo of myself unless my makeup was perfect and I was having a good hair day.
Since this was my first pregnancy, both of these things happened on the regular, and I had a good amount of photos from this time. With my second pregnancy, my makeup was never perfect, and a good hair day was any day that it was out of a pony tail (pregnancy with a toddler at home is no joke). Neither of these things happened often.
However, since I knew that I wished I had even more photos of my first pregnancy, I made sure to take pictures even on the days that I looked tired. What I have now is a true depiction of my second pregnancy, in all of its tired, worn out, nausea-filled glory. And I wouldn't change it for the world.
Our children deserve to see how loved they were, even before they were born- and even if our hair is undone and our eyes are tired, there is love in our faces that will always be beautiful to them. Start taking photos even before there is a belly to speak of, and continue on as it grows- I guarantee you won't regret it.
13 Not Changing Doctors
While many women love their obstetricians and are completely devoted to the idea of having them be the ones to help them through their pregnancy and delivery journey, some women are a bit less committed.
A few of the women I spoke with felt that they should have switched doctors early on in their pregnancy, but by the time they felt secure in their choice, it was late in the game and they felt as though it was too late to make the switch. Out of all the doctors a woman may have in her lifetime, I believe that the doctor that she chooses to accompany her through pregnancy and birth is among the most important.
This doctor will be the one that she sees in her memory as she recalls the details of her birth, and his or her bedside manner and attentiveness can make or break how a woman views her birthing experience.
The bottom line is, if a woman is not 100% comfortable with the physician or midwife she has chosen for this journey, it is never too late(unless she's on the delivery table while reading this, and even then, that might be negotiable) to request a change of doctors. Her comfort is paramount during this sensitive time in her life, and it is vital that she feels at ease with her choice of doctor.
12 Not Exercising More
Often times exercise for a pregnant woman consists of getting out of bed in the morning and finding something to wear that fits. Many of the women I spoke to about regrets during pregnancy said they regretted not working out more during their pregnancy, or not keeping up with a workout routine they had already established prior to becoming pregnant.
Working out during pregnancy can help prevent many health concerns, including high blood pressure, stress, and even depression during pregnancy. It can also help to prevent or alleviate the aches and pains that go along with pregnancy, especially hip and back pain.
Before beginning any exercise program, a pregnant woman should always consult her physician first- even if she is continuing a pre-established workout routine. A simple daily walk can do a lot to boost the health of a pregnant woman, as well as her mindset.
During my pregnancies I basically collapsed on the couch after work each day, as going to work each day was more than enough of a workout for me. However, working out can also be a source of more energy for a pregnant woman, though this seems counter-intuitive. Try to find something that is enjoyable and encourages movement- the benefits cannot be overstated.
11 Eating For Two
During pregnancy the hormonal shifts in a mother's body can cause her to have cravings for foods she otherwise never would have considered. I have a distinct dislike for any and all seafood, and during my first pregnancy I craved tuna fish sandwiches and I could not stop thinking about them until I had one. That wasn't the worst of it though.
During my second pregnancy I was exhausted and craved fast food like never before. I ate McDonald's and burgers and milkshakes more often than I'm willing to admit. It was as if something (more like someone) else had taken over my body AND my taste buds.
Some of the women I polled for this article said that pregnancy made them eat worse than ever before, and they just could not bring themselves to care much about the nutritional value of the food they consumed. I was amongst them for sure. Others stated that they ate better than before, and maintained a healthy diet throughout the pregnancy.
The majority though felt as though food became a source of comfort (and sometimes shame from a doctor's wagging finger at weigh ins). Eating healthy during pregnancy is important for both mother and baby, though it is important to note that the baby will take what it needs from the mother regardless of her diet.
In most cases, the mother's health suffers as a result of lack of nutrition and not the baby's. Even still, as this was a considerable regret of the mothers I spoke with, it is important to remember to eat everything in moderation.
10 Not Taking A Babymoon
During my first pregnancy the idea of a "Babymoon" or special trip for my husband and I to go on before our child was born seemed frivolous and excessive. We already spent a lot of time together- did we really need a trip to commemorate that a baby was on the way?
We ended up taking a weekend trip to the beach with some friends when I was 35 weeks along. In spite of myself, I enjoyed that trip so much. The pictures that I have from this trip of my husband and I on the beach during that special time of anticipation, and on the cusp of parenthood are ones that I'll cherish forever.
A Babymoon doesn't need to be luxurious or excessive (Though if that is in the budget then GO FOR IT!) to be enjoyable. Simply taking some time away (preferably more than a day) from the daily grind of life before the incredible transition into parenthood can be enough to reset an expectant couple's mindset and renew their commitment to one another before a baby comes.
A foundation of love that is already firmly set and established is the best kind for a baby to be welcomed into, and a Babymoon can strengthen an already established bond between two people.
9 Not Getting Pampered Enough
If there is ever a time to get pampered, pregnancy is it. I'm not a woman that indulges in many professional beauty and wellness treatments, but during pregnancy I did get fairly regular pedicures. Many women that suffer the aches and pains of later pregnancy find that prenatal massages are a wonderful way to alleviate their symptoms.
Back and hip pain are amongst the chief complaints of most pregnant women, and professionals that offer prenatal massages are well versed in the techniques to relieve it. Though it might seem excessive, and there is a tendency as women to want to power through the pain, women that reflect upon pregnancies past wished they had pampered themselves just a little bit more.
It is important that anyone offering prenatal massages is certified to do so and has the proper table required to perform the massage. Make certain to check the credentials of anyone offering prenatal services, and of course it is always vital for a pregnant woman to confirm the safety of any treatment with her physician before receiving it.
Once all of this is confirmed, enjoy! Use the nine months of pregnancy as the best excuse ever to indulge in massages, pedicures, and manicures!
8 Getting A 3D Ultrasound
The latest technology of 3D ultrasounds allows mothers to get a better view than ever before of her unborn child. Instead of a blurry black and white image that looks more like a random human profile than a cherubic baby, mothers can now have ultrasounds that allow them a view inside their womb like never before.
Before birth expectant couples can see who the baby looks like more, and show their family and friends before the baby ever breathes his or first breath outside the womb.
This might come with an unexpected cost for some expectant parents: the cost of surprise. While some couples prefer not to even find out the sex of their unborn child, some parents find that the 3D ultrasounds take away the element of surprise a bit too much.
One of the mothers I spoke with said that she wished she hadn't gotten the detailed ultrasound, as she felt it took too much of the joy of surprise away when delivery day arrived, and they already knew what their baby's face looked like. This is a highly personal decision, and some parents find that it doesn't take anything away from the moment of meeting their child.
Still, it is something to consider, especially if the couple was on the fence regarding the discovery of their child's sex.
7 Not Taking Professional Maternity Photos
This goes along with the first item, regarding not having enough photos of the pregnancy. While pregnancy might be the last time a mother considers dressing up and posing for a camera in front of a professional photographer, it might be just the time to consider it.
Many women regret not having professional maternity photographs taken, myself included. At the time I felt that the expense and time wasn't worth the effort, though I felt different after I gave birth. Suddenly every moment that I was pregnant with my son was something I cherished, perhaps because I truly knew the the love I would have for my child.
Though it can seem expensive, taking maternity photos can end up being one of the most priceless items a woman can possess. If I could go back in time, I would have professional maternity photos taken during both of my pregnancies, so that I could display them in my home instead of having a few snapshots in an album tucked away.
Most of the women I spoke with said this was amongst their regrets during their pregnancies, and they wished someone had told them to spend the money and make the time.
6 Not Going Out With Friends Enough
Having a baby changes almost everything about a woman's life. That's not to say it's all bad, just different. Relationships change, including friendships. Time for meeting friends for lunch or coffee is pretty much gone, and with it often goes the feeling of community that a woman once had.
Life can get busy before children, but it takes on an entirely new level of activity once children are involved. Priorities are now different (nursing a baby every hour or so becomes much more important than checking out that amazing sale at the mall, for example), and this is reflected in everyday life.
If I could go back to my first pregnancy, I would savor time with my girlfriends much more than I did. I would make an effort to take trips to visit those friends further away, and I would clear my schedule to include outings with friends I didn't see enough as it was. The truth is, that true friendships will weather the test of time, life stages, and babies- but I would have made certain that I invested more time in this area before my son was born.
5 Believing That Books Knew Everything
For a first time mother, what she really wants is a guarantee that she is going to be the best mother she can be. Many first time moms begin reading every book they can find about birth, parenting, and breastfeeding.
There are books that claim to be able to help a newborn sleep through the night (don't believe that claim for a second, a newborn is NOT meant to sleep through the night biologically.), and books that claim that they know best how to parent every child that has ever been born.
I fell victim to the belief that if I just read enough, I would be the perfect mother. By the time I gave birth to my son I felt that I had everything I needed to parent perfectly. When he was born however, I quickly realized that I knew nothing. All of the information in the books suddenly felt like it didn't apply to me or my child.
None of the books gave much credit to a mother's instinct, and I found that alone to be the most reliable source of information about how to parent my son- a unique individual that did not fit into rules and ideas that I had found so comforting in the chapters of the books I read during pregnancy.
If I had to do it all over again, I would read books about breastfeeding and nipple latches, and leave the rest of the books on the shelf. Understanding that children are unique as well as parents is a priceless gift that parents can give themselves. Relax and know that a mother's instinct is the most valuable source of information available, and it will come eventually.
4 Not Having Good Comebacks For Snark
Pregnancy for whatever reason brings out the snarky comments from strangers and people we know alike. Comments like "You're HUGE" and "Are you having twins?" are just a sampling of the rudeness many pregnant women endure during the nine months they're expecting.
It always seems as though we think of the perfect response just after we could have used it, and find ourselves like George Costanza from Seinfeld muttering "The Jerk Store called, and they're running out of YOU!" after someone makes a thoughtless comment.
I don't know that even if I had the perfect comeback I would have used it at the time- it's not really in my personality to be blatantly rude as a response to rudeness- but I have thought about the perfect response to some rude comments I received in pregnancy!
Even though it's fun to think about stunning the rude person with our witty and timely response, it's probably best to just take a page out of Elsa's book and let it go- because really, anyone who puts a pregnant woman down is pretty unhappy with their own life, and that is punishment enough.
3 Not Being Nice Enough To Their Partner
We all know that mood swings during pregnancy are expected and normal. We probably don't realize it at the time, but we aren't the only ones suffering from the effects of our hormones. Our partners and those closest to us often bear the brunt of our moods, and it isn't until it is over and in the past that we realize that pregnancy changes the lives of everyone that lives with us.
One friend said that she wished she had been easier on her husband, and that at the time she hadn't realized that pregnancy was a big change for him as well. Even though we are the ones carrying the baby, there are many transitions and feelings our partners endure too, but may not feel safe to share it with us for fear of being told a la Rachel from Friends "No uterus, no opinion."
It's always a good idea to think of others before ourselves, even during pregnancy, when it feels as though we might be the center of the very universe in our homes. I'm sure those that live with us will be much more tolerable of our 'tudes if we extend the simple kindness and consideration toward them first.
2 Trying To Be Superwoman
If there is ever a time to put up her feet while claiming that she's still performing a very difficult job, pregnancy is this time for a woman. So many pregnant women want to continue on with life as though nothing is changing, as their bodies beg them to please acknowledge that not only is it changing, but they need rest.
Employers often do not recognize the need for pregnant employees to slow down unless a doctor has written a note for a woman, even though regardless of whether or not she has a written note that says so, a pregnant woman needs more rest and relaxation that usual.
Rest will not be easy to come by after a baby has arrived, and even though sleep is not something that can be stored for a time of sleep deprivation, it is important for a pregnant woman to allow herself time to rest and for her body to prepare itself for the strenuous journey of labor and delivery ahead.
Many women feel as though they need to prove to their male coworkers that nothing has changed because they are pregnant, and it is a sad fact that this is the case in today's society. Pregnant women should take the opportunity to slow down that pregnancy presents and not worry about keeping up with the same pace they did before pregnancy.
1 Buying Hundreds Of Dollars In Postpartum Beauty Supplies
Every first time mom feels a sense of wonder and sometimes fear about what her body might resemble after pregnancy has come and gone. The media would have us believe that stretch marks, saggy breasts, and thicker middles are the war wounds of pregnancy that must be healed. Pregnant women stock up on creams and tummy trainers and underwire bras in the hopes that their bodies will look as though they have never experienced growing and birthing a child.
After giving birth though, most women realize this was a waste. Those war wounds are evidence of a great battle with a great reward, and they are something that they don't want to erase. And the truth is, that even if they wanted to, those stretch mark creams won't do the complete job that they advertise they will do.
Instead of purchasing hundreds of dollars in creams, wouldn't it be better if a pregnant woman saved some money to buy herself some things postpartum that would remind her of what she loved before she became a mother? Maybe she loved watercolor painting, or reading and new paints or a book would be a better fit that a bra with an underwire.
Let's all agree to let go of the idea that we need to get our pre-baby bodies back, and accept what they are- which is forever changed in a good way, just like us.