8 "Mistakes" I'm Glad I Made During My First Pregnancy

By
Share
Ad failed to load

As an adult, I've learned you never really stop hating being told what to do. When I was pregnant I was getting instructions at every turn, from doctors, relatives, and complete strangers on the subway. I would nod and smile but then go about making “mistakes” during my first pregnancy that were more acts of rebellion than clueless gaffes. “Oh, was I not supposed to eat that entire bowl of sweet potato chips? Sorry, I assumed they were all for me, since I’m, ya know, pregnant.”

Though I definitely ate for two at times during my pregnancy, which is not recommended, there were some rules I totally didn’t break. I stayed away from deli meat and raw fish. I abstained from alcohol. I never missed a prenatal appointment. The same went for my second pregnancy, because there are just some chances I am not willing to take. I never wanted to worry that I was jeopardizing the health of my child. I could wait for sake and sushi.

But here are some of the “mistakes” I’m glad I did make during my first pregnancy. Because by making them, I was able to figure out my burgeoning identity as a new mom while simultaneously maintaining some semblance of autonomy in a society that often feels entitled to criticizing mothers (and don’t get me started about working moms).

Ad failed to load

I Stopped Reading Pregnancy Books

Giphy

I was overzealous in the beginning of my first pregnancy, and checked out or purchased every book for expectant moms that had a 4-star rating or higher on Amazon. That turned out to be overwhelming. It was simply too much information to take in, and only made me nervous that there was so much I didn’t know. Not once did I read anything in the books that assured me: “Hey, women have been doing this since the dawn of humans. Trust your gut.” So I just stopped reading and tuned closely in to the inner voice that was getting stronger with each trimester.

I Trolled Parenting Message Boards

Much like going overboard with the pregnancy books, I dove right into the sea of parenting anxiety that are message boards aimed at new moms. Again, very little confidence to be gained from this cesspool of worry and judgment, with the occasional bonding over gross pregnancy effects. No one told me to stay away from these boards when I was pregnant.

But I did find them helpful once my baby was born and I was living new motherhood out in real time. Then, and only then, was I thankful for the community of other new moms connecting over cluster feedings.

I Blamed My Pregnancy For Things I Didn’t Feel Like Doing

Giphy

I legitimately was tired for the majority of my pregnancy, so bowing out of social engagements like concerts, where I’d be on my feet for hours, or parties, where I’d have to power through with non-alcoholic refreshments, was acceptable.

But I did occasionally use the excuse of my pregnancy to get out of some things… like back-to-back meetings (sorry, doctor’s appointment), or Super Bowl gatherings (yeah, sorry, I just can’t be comfortable for that long), or being awake at 4:00 p.m. on a Sunday when I’d much rather be napping.

Ad failed to load

I ‘Forgot” To Ask My Relatives For Parenting Advice

I didn’t solicit it because I’d know I’d get it anyway.

During my second pregnancy, though, I think I did ask my mom some questions about life with two kids. I learn from my “mistakes.”

I Worked From Home My Last Week Before Maternity Leave

Giphy

This might have been a legitimate mistake. All I did was get a cold and become very bored thanks to the very limited adult interaction. But I did get a lot of nesting — mostly laundering and folding onesies — done between conference calls (don't tell my boss).

I Didn’t Research Childcare

I know a lot of other moms who get their childcare squared away well in advance. I didn’t. That might have appeared to be lackadaisical on my part, since I am a procrastinator by nature, but it was intentional.

I planned on taking 12 weeks of maternity leave (most of it unpaid, unfortunately), and I just thought we’d figure out childcare during that time. If felt odd to be thinking about someone caring for a child of mine who hadn’t even entered the world yet, and I wanted to get to know my kid before I could consider who might be a good fit to care for her.

Ad failed to load

I Failed To Decorate The Nursery

Giphy

First of all, it wasn’t a “nursery.” It was the second bedroom in our apartment where the crib and changing table were going. Other than the basic pieces of furniture, there wasn’t much going on in there, mostly because I didn’t want to overplan how the room was going to be. What if I went all in on a jungle theme and hated it? Home decorating for me is like dating for others… I have trouble committing.

I Made A Very Detailed Birth Plan

Even though nothing went according to my birth plan, the exercise of preparing one was not in vain. It really made me think about what the perfect scenario could be, and what choices I’d have to start making if things didn’t go exactly my way as a parent.

It also was one of the first steps in training me that I have to adapt, and find a way to deep breathe my way through motherhood’s many disappointments.

Check out Romper's new video series, Bearing The Motherload, where disagreeing parents from different sides of an issue sit down with a mediator and talk about how to support (and not judge) each other’s parenting perspectives. New episodes air Mondays on Facebook.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at Names.org recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills
)}