What do you wish you had done differently after finding out you were pregnant?

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{13 Weeks} When I got married I regretted not having documented all the preparation process — it was a huge part of the wedding and I barely have a few scattered pictures. Now that I’ve been a wife for over a year, I regret not having taken a picture “the day of” and a similar one on our anniversary, to start a tradition and hopefully end up with a bunch of photos showing us on the day of our anniversary through the years.

Now that we’ve started trying to get pregnant, I wonder what things do people regret not having done since day one — things like taking pictures, writing a diary, or even health related. Tell me: what do you wish you had done from the beginning of your pregnancy, and what are you glad you did do? — A.

Comments on What do you wish you had done differently after finding out you were pregnant?

  1. Pictures! I really wish I’d taken more pictures. Not necessarily a weekly picture, but maybe a monthly picture. I also wish I’d gotten some professional maternity portraits done. I felt awesome and beautiful throughout my pregnancy and I wish I’d taken advantage of that!

  2. i would have stressed less no matter how stressed i should be. nothing is more important than the babe anyway. and i would have never once picked up the cell phone while nursing. i got into a bad habit of it. and i really missed out on a lot of bonding time. we are still nursing, so i will just have to cherish the rest of our time together in this way, it really is flying by. oh! and i would have told extended family to come the day AFTER the birth. i only held my son for 5 min before he was passed around for the next hour or so. i am still bitter at myself about that.

  3. I definitely wish I’d exercised more early in pregnancy. Especially pre-pregnancy though–I was busy and stressed in the 3 or 4 months before I got pregnant and didn’t have a solid exercise routine. I think if I’d had a good routine in place, it would have been easier to keep exercising. But even through the exhaustion and nausea of the first trimester, I wish I’d tried to do SOMETHING — ten minutes of walking or pilates every other day, or something like that.

    I’m really glad I was able to save money. Not having to worry about the financial side of taking maternity leave has been a huge burden off my shoulders.

    • Oh, and I’m also REALLY glad I decided regular chiropractic appointments were worth the $$. I’m 9 months pregnant now and have been getting monthly adjustments since 5 months, and I swear it has made a HUGE difference in how I’ve felt and how much I’ve been able to do. Just because pelvic and joint pain is common during pregnancy doesn’t mean that it’s “normal” or something you just have to suffer through.

  4. I wish I had been more aggressive about what I wanted. I was very young and a pretty timid person during my pregnancy and plenty of well meaning family and friends pushed on me their ideas of what a woman should do during pregnancy. I tried to listen to what everyone else thought I should do rather than relying on my own instincts on knowledge to decide what was right for me.

  5. I wish I would have trusted my instincts and found a Midwife or another OB I was living in a new city and didn’t know anyone a but my husband and a couple of his single male friends. I had reservations about my OB half way through my pregnancy, but chalked it up to hormones. Two years later, I feel like am still healing emotionally from her actions and comments during the birth.
    I also wish I would have walked more and kept my weight in a healthier range.

  6. Things I’m glad I did:
    prenatal yoga – awesome way to relax and stretch and bond with other pregnant ladies, took a monthly belly picture wearing the same shirt every time – true, you feel silly at first but then near the end you can definitely see the difference, its awesome to look over them now.

    Things I wish I had done:
    kept a journal or log of my own emotional journey waiting for our son’s arrival (it was a rough one because we knew he had a cleft but docs couldn’t predict how involved it would be, luckily it was just his lip and has since been corrected – but having that hanging over our head put a damper on me wanting to write anything down).
    Post-natally – I really, really, really wish I had chosen a day each month to write something about his development so far. he’s a year now and when people ask me when this or that happened, I’m at a loss because it all went by soooo quick! (thankfully, I’m a picture freak, so we have TONS of pictures for me to try to piece things together in my memory.) I’m going to try to get better at this.

  7. I still have a month left to go, but I wish I had taken the time every day for a de-stressing ritual of sorts-the summer was a difficult one and I think a little time every day to calm and centre myself would have made me a much healthier and happier person.

    That, and I wouldn’t have gone so damn long without installing an air-conditioner in our apartment. It was late July by the time we paid the extra fee and found a second-hand AC, and it improved our quality of life SO MUCH. I wish we had done it in June.

  8. I am so so so very glad I rode my bike up to 39 or so weeks. Many books tell you not to because it’s a balance issue. But I am a frequent rider (just one car at our house) and I felt very safe on my bike the whole time. I stopped because I wanted more Braxton-Hicks and I only got them with walking.

    I wish I had started earlier keeping a stress journal. I had no idea how to deal with all the emotions. My midwife suggested to keep a journal to help me but also as a possible gift for my child. It helped so much and I even found time after my baby’s arrival to document a few awesome events like his first smile and de-stress about nursing!

  9. Such a good topic!

    Things I’m glad I did:
    -I walked as much as I felt up to it (I had pretty serious pregnancy-induced anemia that sucked all my energy 2nd trimester) and kept working as a barista at a very busy coffee shop right until the week my little guy was due. Staying active made me feel oodles better physically and mentally.

    -Went on oodles of dates and as many concerts as I felt up to with my husband. We really tried to treasure our last months of it being just the two of us 🙂

    -I only bought a few pairs of maternity jeans and made do as much as possible with my existing wardrobe. When it came to the giant 3rd trimester belly, I bought a few clothes that would work post-baby as well and saved up my money for some quality nursing clothes.

    What I wish I did:
    -Not drink gallons of ginger ale 1st trimester. Next baby, I’ll go for ginger tablets and chews and some la croix sparkling water for some happy bubbles 😉

    -Eaten better in 3rd trimester. I was huge, uncomfortable, and grouchy.

  10. I’m only 17 weeks with my first (surprise) baby, but I have one regret so far. I’m choosing to go the midwife and free standing birth center (the only one in town! And the second one in the whole state! And I live right down the street!! :D) route (I’m obviously American lol) and so they’re very ….what’s the word.. natural, I guess. I love it, but my only “sad” that I have is I haven’t had an ultrasound yet as the midwife refused to refer me for an ultrasound “that has no medical reason to happen” as they don’t know how scans affect fetal development.

    I know I could easily go get one from the hospital, but I’m only realizing this now, weeks before my 20 week scan.

    I’m sad that I don’t have that little bean picture, or the fuzzy baby caterpillar looking picture. I also feel like I haven’t bonded with my baby because I still haven’t seen it, or felt it move. I mean really so far I just feel…periodless. this gives me anxiety dreams about going to the birth center to give birth and them realizing I carried ectopic to term and me freaking out saying, “Well if I had just had ultrasounds, none of this would have happened!”

    I know that’s all very silly, but that is my one regret.

    • Oh, I understand how you feel! I deliberately chose to only have one ultrasound — no Doppler, even, to hear the heartbeat. But I still felt not quite pregnant until that 20 week scan. (I felt the baby move maybe a week before the ultrasound.) After, my partner turned to me and said (jokingly), “Now do you believe that you’re pregnant?”

      I’m sorry you feel so regretful. I hope the 20 week scan is a joyful experience for you, and that you see a healthy little bug in there.

    • FYI, you can buy a Doppler scanner at Babies R Us and online. I’m not sure why your midwife told you that, but hopefully your 20-week one will be as awesome an experience as ours was. It really is phenomenal to see!

      But really, the Doppler thing is pretty awesome and to do it at home is great. I could listen to that whooshing rhythm all day 🙂

      • I’ve HEARD my baby, it was nice. But I haven’t seen it. Apparently you can hear your baby with a stethoscope around this time, so we’re going to borrow one from a friend. I have my next midwife appt Tuesday, hopefully I’ll be able to get my 20 week scan a bit early. I’m going crazy.

        • Mine wasn’t very “real” to me until about week 20/21 either. He was planned, but it was still one of those frightening moments of denial, that I would walk into the doctors and maybe be told I wasn’t pregnant at all.

        • Do post again if you’re able to hear with a stethoscope. We tried and weren’t able to, and later our midwife said it’s very hard for people who aren’t trained on how/where exactly to listen to hear anything. Seeing your baby will be so exciting though! One of those moments that’s so fun to re-live in my memory.

          • We were able to hear the heartbeat with a stethoscope, but not until about 32-33 weeks. And it was very difficult to get the right placement–you have to really center it on the spine, which means figuring out where the heck the spine is! 🙂 Plus the pressure and temperature of the stethoscope made the baby wiggle like crazy.

  11. I’m only at 15 weeks, so I haven’t had a ton of time for regrets, but I do wish I had a “before” picture of my belly. I’m driving myself and my husband crazy with “do I look bigger? Or is this just the chub I’ve always had?”

    I’m glad I started calling around to find a midwife right away. I hadn’t planned to use one, I like my OB ok, but I ended up finding someone who I really really like. She usually fills up before the end of the first trimester, so starting early was a good thing!

  12. I wish I hadn’t taken the prenatal RhoGAM. I know that for some people, it’s the right choice, but it’s a very small minority that need it; and I truly believe it’s what led to my trouble gaining weight in my third trimester, and to the oligohydramnios that developed (and which went completely undiagnosed until my water broke and the midwife realized that it wasn’t nearly enough fluid).

    And what I’m glad I did do is homebirthing. It was a lot less stressful for me than a hospital (and I avoided the episiotomy that I certainly would’ve otherwise been subjected to), and my wee one came out just fine. For my husband’s sake, though, if there’s a next time, I think we’ll do a birthing center!

  13. I really wish we would have started researching daycare and getting on waiting lists the minutes we confirmed I was pregnant. We had way fewer options and a ton more stress because we waited.

    I’m really glad that I got maternity photos done, took childbirthing classes, hired a doula.

  14. I wish I had done a last kid free trip with my hubby. I wrote a journal to my first, and didn’t with my second, and I wish I had.

  15. I wish I had started listening to the hypnobabies “Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations” sooner… sounds hokey but they really helped me think more positively about my pregnancy when I started listening to them in my third trimester, and they’d be totally appropriate to listen to sooner.

    I wish we hadn’t done very early ultrasounds (which led to a misdiagnosis of miscarriage at 6 weeks… thankfully we decided to wait for natural miscarriage and found my beautiful little girl at 10 weeks!) and genetic testing, which did lead to a scary result but one we decided to ignore because we weren’t willing to take on the risk of amnio… in the future, I’ll only do tests if I’ve thought through what I’d do if the result was bad.

    I’m SO glad I kept exercising throughout my pregnancy… it has made recovery afterward so much easier, and it made my pregnancy and birth better in general.

  16. I wish I had gotten in on my work’s short-term disability plan, which I never knew covers maternity leave! Now it’s too late and I’m going to have to take 2 months of unpaid leave. Boo! So far, no other regrets but I’m only halfway through.

  17. I’m 32 weeks tomorrow on Monday, and the only thing I regret so far is not being more forthright and strong with a lot of medical staff I’ve dealt with so far (midwives, dieticians, etc), specifically in relation to my social situation. In the early days, I was pushed around a little by people assuming that, because I’m unmarried, there’s a risk that I’ll be essentially alone in this experience. It was really hurtful, but I didn’t feel strong enough to stand up and say “Hey, screw you, your judgement isn’t needed, this is 2011, and what you’ve just said or implied is really hurtful to me and to my partner!”. Caused me some tears and hurt early on, can’t believe I encountered it.

    Things I’m glad I did (or in this case, didn’t do): read baby books. Yep. I’ve had a magical time doing research on my own and figuring out things for myself. I’ve read medical articles and had phone conferences with nurses, where I was able to ask questions and refute an idea I didn’t like, and it’s made me feel better than a specific text book ever could.

  18. I wish I had waited to tell people. I ended up miscarrying in the 2nd trimester. Even though I miscarried over a month ago I have people still come up to tell me that I look great for being 6 months pregnant. It’s been really difficult and I’ve been struggling with depression because of it.

    • KK, my condolences to you and your family. i’m so sorry you had to go through that. this may sound weird but when i couldn’t be around babies (i had not lost one, but deeply grieved not being able to have one, a situation that has fortunately changed) i sometimes wrote a note saying something. so that waiters and train conductors would seat me far away from them. i knew i couldn’t say anything out loud without crying, so i’d hand them the note and they would politely attempt to accommodate me. like a deaf person handing their card over. i don’t know if this technique would be useful to you, but thought ‘d throw it out there. for me, knowing that i’d have to speak and explain all the time made me much more anxious.

  19. I wish I’d made postpartum plans earlier. We didn’t figure out what we were doing for childcare until the week before I had to go back to work, and I ended up spending a couple of months being miserable about it before finally up and quitting my job. If we’d figured out I was going to leave my job sooner, I could have made a more graceful, professional exit.

    My mom was in charge of photography during labor, and I wish I’d made it clear to her that I WANTED the pictures she thought were undignified. I have almost no pictures of the baby coming out, and I wanted them.

    I had my partner take some nude pictures of me about 38 weeks along. It was AWESOME. They’re not professional pictures by any means (we couldn’t afford them), but we had so much fun doing them. He posed me in ridiculous ways, we set up the timer and took pictures together, it was just completely silly and completely wonderful.

    The other thing I’m really glad we did was take a vacation together while I was pregnant. We had never taken a trip together to someplace where we weren’t visiting friends or family. Now we can look back on it, and we relish having those memories of just the two of us, since we won’t be “just the two of us” again for a long time.

  20. I wished I sought out a midwife as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t realise how quickly CNMs book up.
    I wish I only bought maternity tops that were designed to also be nursing shirts.

    I notice on Elsewhere on the Web a Huffington Post commentary about Michelle Duggar’s uterus is linked. As counter- cultural as the Duggars are I guess they are not the “Right Type of Offbeat”.

  21. I wish I had read MUCH more about breastfeeding and learned all about it (this is of course if you’re planning to breastfeed). I didn’t really understand how much it would hurt at first and so didn’t nurse for about ten days after birth because I thought there was something wrong, either with her latch or something with me. I knew it wouldn’t be easy necessarily (almost every mom I know had an issue with it) but it also turned out to be one of my emotional triggers which made the whole process even more difficult. Happily, we are doing well with it now.

    Like many people have said, I wish I had exercised more. Oh well.

    And I’d say that no matter how firmly held your ideals are, research information about every kind of birth. Because you never know WHAT will end up happening, and while some things are totally in your control, many things may not be. It’s much better to go into it knowing that, then spending 10 months set on how it will go only to be disappointed by something in the end.

    And I heartily agree on taking pictures!! I didn’t think I’d want or need photos right after the birth (when Olive was still all bloody and slimy) but those are the ones I pore over, remembering what an amazing experience it was. I wish we’d taken more…and I thought I was *adamant* about not wanting any! That whole “adamant” thing went out the window in so many ways…

  22. Well, this is going to sound nuts, but I developed a condition called hyperemesis gradivium. It’s like the worst “morning sickness” you’ve ever heard of. I threw up 20 and 30 times a day. (See, helpher.org for more info!) I wanted to punch people in the face when they suggested “crackers.”
    I really wish I’d been bold enough to try marijuana. I heard of a lot of mothers with this condition having good success with it. Instead I took Zofran, which often made me feel pretty terrible in a different way, and getting my insurance to pay for it was a total mess. They would only pay for a 3 day supply of pills at a time, and kept asking me when I’d get better! As if I knew! 🙁

    I would also get some not too cheesy maternity photos done with my husband. We didn’t get many pictures done together when I was very far along, and I wish we had.
    I loved being in our stand alone birth center, but I wish we’d stayed home, and finally gotten a postpartum doula. Would have been SO WORTH IT!

  23. So glad I:
    Did yoga
    Took a Breastfeeding class
    Took weekly pictures
    Took maternity pics with my huband (and cheesy ones at that!)
    Excersized through the first tri and up until birth
    Read to my baby
    Kept a blog/wrote letters to my fetus
    Took a Bradley Birth class and followed the diet

    Wish I had:
    Done infant photos with someone at our house
    Had a “babymoon”, ie a vacation before the baby

  24. wow, so much to say! glad that i:

    – happened to have a friend who does casts professionally, and had cast my body a couple years back, and offered to do a belly cast.

    – got to use the belly cast and the gigantic, enormous belly in a performance art showcase two weeks before due date.

    – did a “babymoon” weekend with my husband.

    – took an international trip i’d always wanted to take, to a very out-of-the-way place, while i was 20 weeks pregnant — and my dad came along (i was going to do it alone). this was SO amazing.

    – enjoyed the quiet moments with that strange, developing blob of cells that would at some point become A Baby, even while i was feeling really ill.

    – didn’t let all the hyper paranoia BS get to me, at least not too badly. the media, moms, dads, bloggers, books, doctors all gang up on pregnant ladies. (i recently googled for images of “women” and “anxiety” and a surprising number of the results showed preggos!)

    – prenatal yoga!! Shiva Rea’s prenatal yoga DVD, recommended by a friend. it was so special, how it took me through the three different trimesters. at first i did normal exercising too, but by the very end it was mostly yoga only.

    – went to therapy. no time for it after the baby!

    – got massages frequently.

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