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. whoops – and here are the Wish-I-Hads:

    – much more thorough research on C-sections — not the process itself, which birth classes and OBs tell you, but how crazy the recovery can be. mine was really bad. i’d never been close to anyone who’d had a baby, so i only recently, helping friends postpartum, figured out how screwed up i was after giving birth.

    i did write a long-ass letter cc’ed to my OB/GYN, the hospital, my doula and postpartum doula, and the birth class people. my OB later thanked me and said they’re trying to incorporate some of my ideas into a new birth class. uh, email me magdalen23 att gmail if you want the whole giant list — really, i freaking wish i had known ahead of time, even if there’s only a small chance that your recovery will be as hard.

    – wish i’d watched my eating. i could only eat small amounts of stuff first trimester, and got very hooked on comforty foods like bagels and cream cheese, ice cream, etc. once i could really eat again, i kept eating the comfort foods and everything else in sight. it was awesome, but i gained 60 lbs, half of my original body weight. i am a short person. i think the extra weight made postpartum more difficult.

    – wow, i guess i mostly have Glads! how nice. glad i took some photos (some of the self-photos/nudies are the funnest), belly cast, did a lot of art and performance, wrote a lot during a pretty fucked up first trimester (the rest of my family did not welcome this pregnancy, i lost a close friend during that time as well), rested and slept a whole lot, glad of yoga and doula and classes.

    – glad i extended my positive visualizations not just to birth stuff (as yr doula or midwife might have you do) but also to C section, so i spent some time picturing a really successful and lovely C section, pictured being so happy when they brought the baby over to me. and that is exactly what happened. i was encouraged to only think “good thoughts” as in, only do visualization exercises about the beautiful natural birth i’m going to have. well, i’m glad i did both.

    – biggest regret is allowing breastfeeding to be such a huge, huge, important deal to me. some people just can’t do it. some babies just can’t do it. letting the first three months of a baby’s life be far too swept up in the misery of breast pumps and trying to breastfeed, and lactation consultants, … well, it’s a regret. i should have stopped after 6 or 8 weeks and gotten on with our lives.

  2. I wish I’d gotten more pictures too. I really wish I’d had a maternity photo session but it was out of our budget and my husband wasn’t into it.

    What I really wish I’d done was have shirts made that read, “I’m fat AND pregnant” to counter all those “I’m not fat, I’m pregnant!” shirts I saw around. First just to show that I’m not afraid to be who I am, and second because, well, not a lot of people on the streets believed I was pregnant. I actually had other pregnant woman push me out of the way in stores, tossing a quick, “Opps, not my fault, I’m pregnant!” and it used to really hurt because I wanted to call back that I was too, but the few times I actually did all I got were weird looks and raised eyebrows.

  3. Oh, gosh, tons of things! First, I would have gotten a midwife, to be more educated about natural birth and breastfeeding. Second, I would have gone to La Leuche League meetings before I had my baby. Third, I would have had sex more with my husband! I was tired and feeling unsexy for a while, but you should never pass up worry-free sex with your spouse! There at the end it did wonders to know I was still attractive to my husband, stretch marks and everything.

  4. When I found out I was pregnant, I was in the middle of nursing school, dirt poor and my partner of 10 years had just told me he didn’t ever want to have children. Between a terrible sense of betraying the man I loved every time I started to get happy about the baby, and a very high risk of miscarriage r/t previous miscarriage and PCOS, I kept myself distant from my baby right up until she was born. No pictures, no storytelling, only thing I ever did was rub the belly a lot.
    Best advice I can give is to cherish every single moment you have with that little person you are growing. Even if something awful happens, that baby was still real, still yours. Accept everything you feel about the situation, good and bad. Let the world celebrate you and your belly (people are really NICE to pregnant women!) Take lots of pictures, relish the time you have left as “just two.” I totally agree about stocking up on coupons – even if you don’t end up using formula you can always donate the coupons!
    (Btw, we got married earlier than we’d planned, he was at every dr appt and the moment she was born she grabbed his hand and he has never let go – pure love)

  5. I would have done an in-home newborn portrait session. We tried to do a studio shoot at 9 weeks, and it just wasn’t comfortable for anybody. I so wish we’d done a newborn shoot in the comfort of our home home. Those first couple weeks were so intimate and profound, and I really wish I had better visual documentation of them.

  6. A few more thoughts…

    At nine months my hubby and I did a photo session in our backyard, just him taking photos and me posing. I wore a cute pair of turquoise underwear and got a bunch of pretty flowers…we ended up with some great shots, and now I can remember well how I looked in those last months. It was really fun!

    I’m a bellydancer, and I was adamant about doing at least one performance while obviously pregnant. I got to do a duet with a friend of mine at a show, and got some amazing feedback from it. If you have some kind of creative activity like this, I encourage you to continue to do it while prego. Makes for a great story later 🙂

    Lastly, ENJOY your pregnancy! Those ladies who had very difficult pregnancies may scoff at this, but I sometimes miss being pregnant and feeling her inside me and really enjoyed our special bond. I was lucky to have a really great pregnancy and even when I was exhausted I felt alive in a way I didn’t know was possible. Rub that belly, talk to it, do anything that will connect you to the experience. It’s a pretty damn amazing thing that we can do this!

  7. I wish I had taken more pictures and loved my body more. I also wish I had changed my phone number earlier so the biologic father would have stopped harassing me sooner. But that probably doesn’t apply to most women here. 🙂

  8. I’m really glad I made some small changes to our diet well before getting pregnant. More whole grains and salmon, preparing our food instead of buying anything ready made, etc. I was borderline for gestational diabetes, and I think the fact that I had already been eating whole grains helped. I’m still trying to love eggs for breakfast, though.

    I’ve also been making a photo book of the pregnancy, and I plan to include the birth and first couple weeks at home. It’s been really fun and distracted me from the less fun effects of pregnancy. We did a belly pic every other week from 18 to 30 weeks, and then went to one per week. Making the book also helps me feel more connected to the baby, especially earlier when he didn’t constantly make his presence known by squirming around all day.

    I regret not having a more established exercise routine, especially in the pool. I did exercise regularly before pregnancy, but all day nausea from week 8 to 22 really sidelined all plans for exercise and healthy eating. Once it finally ended, it was tough to get back. I wish I had thought to go for more walks during that time, as I may have been able to manage that. I also wish I had a pool membership.

  9. take more pictures. Even if you’re feeling super bloated, fat, tired, etc. I had one professional maternity shoot, and I remember getting teary eyed trying to do my hair and pick out clothes cause I felt so fat and ugly. I look at those pictures now and I’m SO glad I have them.

    Also: I wish I had been less anxious and spend more time being happy and positively bonding with my unborn child. Due to stressors at work and tense relationship issues, I spend a lot of my pregnancy worrying and sad. Remember: all that stuff is temporary. Your kid is forever.

  10. I wish I would have listened to my doctors’ advice about taking better care of myself. I wish I would have asked more questions about pregnancy with Type One Diabetes. I wish I would have gotten on the ball with my insulin and food plan. More than likey any of those changes wouldn’t have changed how my daughter came into the world (emergency C-section), but I think I might have felt less guilty afterwards.

  11. I wish I appreciated my pre-pregnancy body more, because I’m never getting it back.

    I wish I shaved my vag when I thought I was in early labor. I had 4 weeks of postpartum bleeding, and all that blood and stuff would cake to the hair and feel sticky and gross. I would have felt so much cleaner and more comfortable if I’d have thought to shave it off before birth. After delivery I was too sore and swollen to do it.

    I wish I plàyed more video games, because I feel like I never have time now.

    • I’m so glad you mentioned video games! I’m 9 months pregnant now and trying to let myself play video games without guilt, cause I know it’s not going to happen for a while. 🙂 And also trying not to feel resentful of my husband playing video games instead of paying attention to me… 😉

    • YES! I’m wondering how I’m supposed to get my fix once she is born. Plus, my partner plays as well. We’re going to have to make a gaming schedule…

  12. We did a “pregnancy tour,” just my husband and I, around the States. We live on the east coast and our families are scattered around the west. We were gone for over a month and traveled almost 6,000 miles. I have great memories from that time. It was so lovely to spend that time with my husband. It helped us bond together even more than previously.
    I wish I had journaled. My mom did with me and gave me my journal on my 18th birthday. The plan was to journal in the same book but I still haven’t found it and last week on his first week birthday I finally just started journaling else where. I also wish we’d taken a weekly belly pic. We tried, but my husband is so perfectionist about pictures it just became too stressful. I should’ve done it myself with a timer. Oh well.

  13. I wish I’d not spent so much time being terrified. I was so worried about everything from the big questions like “What am I going to tell my kid about Santa Claus and drugs?” to “Am I going to be a terrible parent?” to the small stuff like whether I’m going to baby-wear or use disposables or cloth diapers. I wish I’d known how joyful and wonderful it is to watch my little guy grow and develop. You really do figure it out as you go along, and things just kind of fall into place. If you make a mistake, you try something else, and eventually find your rhythm. Everyone tells you parenting the the hardest job in the world, and I’m not saying it’s easy, but it’s not hard every day, and it’s so much fun!

  14. I wish I’d enjoyed the time when it was just me and my husband more, and treasured every last minute of sleep! Not that it was full nights’ sleep, what with getting up to pee six times, but not getting up for anyone else!

    I SERIOUSLY wish I’d taken weekly belly pics. Or even any at all. I pretty much have to force a camera into my husband’s hand to get any pictures of myself so all I have are half a dozen mostly-out-of-focus shots.

    I really really wish I’d shared more of how I wanted the birth to do with my OB. Towards the end of the pregnancy I started seeing signs that she might not do everything our way – not that she would deliberately do something I didn’t want, but that she would do things her way unless I said otherwise, rather than asking my opinion. As a result, I had more interventions than I really wanted, but was not able (due to pain meds) to refuse. So yeah, even if it seems overkill to spell everything out with your OB/midwife/husband/birth partner/whoever, DO IT.

  15. I wish I wouldn’t have let my in-laws get to me so much. They had plans and expectations as to how this whole experience was going to go for THEM and it felt really invasive and stressful to me. Next time around, I will straight up tell them to back off and allow myself to enjoy my baby without their boundary stomping. I am still bitter about it because I feel that while I was recovering from being pregnant, they really put a strain on those first few months with my firstborn child.

  16. Thanks for this post. My husband and I have been talking a lot about getting pregnant. I’m almost 33, never been pregnant. I feel overly cautious at this point and am turning to blogs and other people’s experiences for guidance. I”m excited but extremely nervous and uber afraid of getting pregnant. I started pre-natals via my doctor’s advice. Any advice from your readers is helpful. These comments are fantastic. Thanks again. I look forward to reading your blog more through this process.

  17. LSG you sound so similar to me. I’m 33 and have just found out I’m 4weeks pregnant. Feeling overwhelmed and like its hard to believe that it’s actually happening. Have spent the last week worrying about the “what if’s” but these comments have made me realise I should just be enjoying it instead of missing it. Thanks!

  18. I wish I had interviewed/researched my care provider instead of being a doormat and going with the OB/GYN who was providing my pap smears.

    Getting a checkup once a year and writing a prescription for birth control is NOT the same thing as providing pregnancy or labor care, and towards the end of my pregnancy when it’s already almost impossible to change over, I’ve been in tears multiple times about their behavior and treatment.

    Interview. Your. Care. Provider. Don’t assume your regular doctor will be just fine.

  19. This may be silly, but I wish I had worked on my flexibility and upper-body strength more. More movement in my hips and back, and more strength in my arms would have made baby wearing/breastfeeding so much easier. My son was 7lbs at birth, and almost ten pounds within two weeks. My whole body hurt from holding him so much.

    Also, I wished that I had learned more sleepytime songs. When soothing a fussy baby I realized my repertoire was not as great as I had imagined, though he didn’t seem to mind when I fell back on a hushed version of Ice, Ice, Baby….

  20. I am 23 weeks and my biggest “I wish I did…” was to pay into short term disability as soon as I was employed. I get three months maternity leave but it’s unpaid. I could have been getting a fair amount of money from disability instead of having to save all my paid time off hours for AFTER the birth (when all I want to do is take time off now).

    Also, make sure to call your disability provider, as Human Resources told me that pregnancy didn’t count. When I called the provider, they told me different and I immediately notified HR.

    I also wish I had been having more sex earlier on because now it’s more difficult 🙂

  21. I’m 37 weeks pregnant and here is a list of things I’m really glad I did:
    – started fitness classes at 12 weeks, never felt better!
    – not falling prey to the ‘I’m pregnant I can eat whatever I like’ idea and kept up really healthy eating (until about a week ago…eek).
    – eating all the stuff they say you shouldn’t (aside from soft cheese and raw fish) in moderation. I started out stressing and realised really quickly that I couldn’t live like that!

    I wish I’d forked out for really cool, comfy maternity clothes early on, rather than being a cheap skate and feeling a bit dowdy most of the time. I wish I’d realised that by the end of the pregnancy I’d have gone up two clothing sizes (even with the healthy diet and lots of exercise) and would have bought roomier clothes earlier, too. I wish I’d started the baby’s room sooner…rather than rushing it over the past two weeks just in case the baby is early.

    As much as I LOVE all the wonderful and generous donations people have made towards our family, I wish I’d been a bit more discerning about the second hand stuff we accepted. We’re totally overwhelmed with stuff (particularly clothes for boys and we don’t know if we’re having a boy or girl yet) now and feel a bit bogged down with it all.

  22. I am 32 weeks in, so I might have to add more later. 

    At this point I regret not communicating with my family more about what was going on with Baby. I live states away from them and my mother especially feels the distance keenly. For some reason it didn’t seem very important that the baby did a “bubble dance” for 3 seconds in one day but now looking back telling them how this felt would have made the whole thing more real for me and bring joy to the people who really wanted to be a part of the process.

    I also wish I had taken more pictures of when I told my family I was pregnant. My mother cried, actually broke down and bawled, when I handed her the ultrasound, something I had not seen coming at all. THEN my dad kissed my mom, in front of EVERYONE. Considering how conservative my father is that was a huge deal and I didn’t have my camera! Face palm!

    I am super glad that I took pictures of my belly, even though it wasn’t every week. I took them once a month and then when I hit 20 weeks every 2 weeks and now at 32 weeks I will do it every week. It is so dramatic to see the change, and since you go through it every day you don’t realize just how big you have gotten.

    I am glad that I chose not to let changes in our plan stress me out, I let my partner do that.  We are actually making the move from New York to Seattle right now, he is already there and I am driving across the country with our dog and alternating helpers to our home. Originally he was going to drive and I was going to fly but, as I said, plans changed. I could have let all the changes that have happened in the last month stress me out and make everyone’s life just that much more difficult but I found that just shrugging it off and using the mantra “It will work out.” was far more helpful, even though I think my partner wanted to pull his hair out at my seeming lack of urgency at times.:)

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