I’ll admit it: I wasn’t a very good pregnant woman.
Yes, I followed most of the rules. No hot dogs or colored M&M’s. No sit ups after week fifteen. No hot tubs. Got it.
But, let’s be honest. Whose pregnant brain has the capacity to remember all of those things to do and avoid?
Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on the three years of my life I spent with-child, I can clearly identify some of my own mistakes…those things that I did that made my pregnancies a lot more difficult than they needed to be. These flubs had nothing to do with the rules my OBGYN gave me like limiting canned tuna consumption or microwaving lunch meat. Instead these are the ways I fixated on what wasn’t important while missing out on the joys and, in some cases, the necessities involved with nurturing a new life.
Are you guilty too? See how many of these very common pregnant woman challenges apply to you.
Mistake #1: I worried about my weight. A lot.
My doctor told me not to worry. My weekly email from the Baby Center told me not to worry. My husband told me not to worry. But, I didn’t care what any of them said. I approached that scale with fear, trepidation, my lightest weight pregnancy clothing, no jewelry, and an empty bladder. I cared about that number. I thought about it day and night, replaying in my head the flippant way the nurse rounded up…as if there was no difference between 159 and 160. How rude.
Truth: After a life spent battling battling the scales it’s impossible to just flip a switch and stop “worrying” about weight gain. But, do try to keep your focus on eating for the baby’s health and not obsessing over the changes your body has to make to accommodate baby. The weight will come off. Eventually.
Mistake #2: I didn’t ask for help. Enough.
It was a maneuver I had successfully completed a dozen times. When I needed a garment from my off-season clothing collection, all I needed to do was scoot the giant Rubbermaid bin off of the high shelf in my closet and onto my head. Then, like a Sumo wrestler, I could slowly move into a squat, balancing the weight of the container between my hands and my skull until I could get it to the ground.
Sadly using this technique to retrieve my maternity sweatpants at thirty-two weeks didn’t go very well. Fortunately, when the bin bounced off of my head it only knocked me to my backside. Yet, my dizziness and bruises proved that I could have got a concussion.
Truth: My “I’m pregnant not disabled” personal mantra did me no favors. Though pregnant women can still do amazing things (like run marathons), it’s okay, and even wise, to ask for help. (It can save you from bonus trips to the ER.)
Mistake #3: I listened to, watched, and read everyone else’s birth stories.
Two hours a day. That equated to four episodes of TLC’s show, A Baby Story that aired during each day of my first pregnancy. I watched them all. Even the reruns. I read books on childbirth and asked detailed questions of friends who had recently delivered babies. If knowledge is power, I was the Incredible Hulk of birth stories.
Truth: It’s probably best not to go into childbirth completely blind, but absorbing the way it happened for everyone else could be an obstacle on your own D-Day. Personally, when my dreams of a natural childbirth were shattered by the news of an inevitable c-section, I fought feelings of dissatisfaction that my story was not according to my plan. The let down of not having the type of birth I wanted dampened my first few months of motherhood.
Mistake #4: I compared myself to other pregnant women.
She’s only gained ten pounds while I’m four weeks behind and fourteen pounds ahead. She’s banking her cord blood but I’m not sure if we can afford that. She’s got the entire nursery decorated Pottery Barn perfect and I just picked up some crib sheets on the Target clearance shelf and look like a deer in the headlights when people ask for my “theme.”
Truth: The mommy comparison game begins at pregnancy and never ends unless we make a concerted effort to make it stop. Pregnancy is a great opportunity to start practicing the art of following your instincts and mothering in the way you’ve been uniquely wired to mother. Every mommy is different, every pregnancy is different, and every child is different. Second guessing yourself because of others’ weight gain or choices is a surefire way to spend pregnancy miserable.
Mistake #5: I didn’t drink enough water.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I filled up my water glass about one hundred times a day and then promptly placed that glass on the family room coffee table. Then, instead of sitting down to drink it I would chase children or find other activities to do that required me to be everywhere but sitting their downing that glass of H2O. My portable Camelback water bottle was always by my side too, and frequently empty. But, sadly, having your toddlers drink your water does little for your personal hydration. Thus, each of my pregnancies was characterized by months of Braxton-Hicks contractions which are only fun if you enjoy pain.
Truth: Water matters.
Mistake #6: I didn’t take enough selfies.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a big advocate of the selfie. In general, I think American women take too many photos of themselves which is likely why pregnant American women don’t take as many… I mean, seriously, who posts photos of themselves at the 17 weeks–I’m wearing bigger pants but no one knows why–stage of pregnancy? No one. Sure, once the baby belly is big and round it’s easier to snap a few side photos on good days while wearing that one special maternity outfit. But, for the most part, I spent most of my pregnancies avoiding the camera.
Truth: I wish I had more photos of myself at different stages of pregnancy. (Or, even better, I wish I had done the every week time lapse picture video. I mean, those are just seriously cool.)
How about you? Did you make pregnancy harder than it had to be with any of these common mistakes? Were there other ways you made it more difficult?