Sometimes, thinking back on my first pregnancy journal really makes me cringe.
I learned so many things the hard way I wish could go back tell my younger self.
Like, “Good golly, woman, put down the chocolate sprinkle donut holes!”
And, “Just buy the goofy pregnancy pillow already!”
Some of the mistakes I made are now only small regrets, but others seriously impacted my physical and emotional health.
Today, I’m sharing with you 10 mistakes that I made during my first pregnancy, and what I’m doing differently this time around.
10 Things I Wish I Had Done Differently My First Pregnancy Journal
1. I didn’t read any pregnancy books
As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I was all over Pinterest articles about fetal development, birth, and newborn babies.
I read about what I should put on my registry, what I should pack in my hospital bag, and when my bloat would finally turn into a real bump.
I did NOT read any books on how my body would change during pregnancy, or how to take care of my unborn baby and myself.
It truly didn’t even occur to me to educate myself that way.
It was a HUGE mistake.
This pregnancy, I started by reading “The Healthy Pregnancy Book” by William and Martha Sears, and I wish so badly I had read it my first pregnancy.
2. I didn’t prepare my body for labor
I did my best to work out at the gym with my weird semi-overnight work schedule, but I did not do a good job of it.
My 10+ hour shift ended at 3 a.m. most nights, so I had to really push myself to actually go to the gym at 4 a.m. when I was tired and ready for bed. Needless to say, I was inconsistent.
I also didn’t know how to properly exercise to prepare for labor specifically.
In fact, may of the exercises I did were not doing my pregnant body any favors (like deadlifts).
This pregnancy, I am learning how to pace my workouts more appropriately–so that I can still engage in the type of exercise I enjoy, which is weightlifting–while incorporating movements that prepare my body for labor.
3. I didn’t take proper care of myself
My first pregnancy, I really didn’t take care of myself.
We found out we were pregnant unexpectedly during our first year of marriage, I was working a job with hours all over the place, and we were living in the fast-paced Washington D.C. area.
I was stressed. The heck. Out.
With 3 hours of daily commuting and 10-12 hour shifts, I felt like I barely had time to sleep, let alone prepare nutritious meals for myself.
I ate a lot of carbs. Like a lot of carbs. Pretty much lived on pasta and rice.
By my 20 week prenatal appointment, I had already gained more weight than you’re typically supposed to in your entire pregnancy. Which did not make me less stressed.
I added 5 inches around my rump.
I wasn’t exercising consistently.
And I did nothing to effectively combat the perpetual stress I was experiencing.
All in all, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and depressed.
Related: How I Lost Over 50 Pounds Postpartum
Not this time, Mom Friend, not this time. What I put myself and my baby through last time was both unhealthy and unnecessary.
This time around, managing my blood sugar is a high priority for me, as well as exercising regularly and staying on top of my emotional health.
4. I didn’t make the most of an ending season
I was so focused on life after the baby arrived that I didn’t even realize the season of life I was already in was rapidly coming to an end.
I completely took for granted all of the little things, Iike being able to brush my teeth when I felt like it, leaving the house easily with only myself to worry about, doing chores in a timely fashion (without a sleeping lump strapped to my front).
Once my baby arrived, my life changed forever. I will never again be a 20/21 year old young woman responsible for only myself. My mind will never function the same way, my body will never fit together the same way, my day will never run the same way.
I could have done so much more to maximize the time I had left in that phase of life.
While I can’t go back to before kids, I know going from one child to two will also be a major change. This pregnancy, I am making an effort to maximize my daughter’s remaining time as an only child. This is a special season for her (and me!) that will soon be over.
5. I didn’t pursue prenatal care that aligned with my birth plan
I wanted a natural, unmedicated birth.
However, I chose an OB-GYN group practice rather than pursuing a midwife.
My doctors’ idea of how my birth should go did not align with my own desires, and it 100% impacted the outcome.
They scheduled me for an induction the weekend of my due date–which fortunately did not happen–but they did strip my membranes on my due date, which effectively did seem to induce labor because my water broke a few hours later.
While I can’t know for sure, I firmly believe my baby was not ready to be born yet.
She was not in the optimal position, which made my labor very long and painful, and nobody told me what was going on or why my contractions were coming in sets of three instead of one at a time.
My doctor didn’t even see me until 12 hours after my labor started.
I ended up having the epidural, and while in the end, everything turned out fine, I believe the whole process could have looked very different.
This pregnancy, I will be giving birth in a hospital again, but I’ll be seeing a midwife group instead of doctors. I also know now I need to be prepared to advocate more strongly for myself.
6. I didn’t take enough pictures
As I rapidly gained weight during pregnancy, seeing myself in pictures was pretty much the last thing I wanted to do.
I didn’t think I’d want a permanent record of a physique that I was very ashamed of (the same reason I also don’t have enough pictures of myself postpartum with my newborn).
I so regret not taking more photos of myself and the bump!
I did eventually lose the weight, and wanted to be able to look back and see how my body changed over time.
I want to have lots of pictures to share with my children and even grandchildren someday.
This pregnancy, I am faithfully taking weekly pictures.
7. I didn’t advocate for myself
During my first pregnancy, my doctors pushed a lot of things I wasn’t comfortable with, as did the hospital during my labor and delivery.
I knew I didn’t agree with much of their methods and philosophy, but I didn’t feel confident enough to contradict them.
I really wanted to believe that because they were doctors, they must be doing what’s best for me, and so I doubted my own instincts.
I would have benefited so much just from taking a simple birth prep course! I would have been so much better educated on what to expect and what my options were. If you’re looking for a good online birth course, I highly recommend Birth It Up! from Liesel Teen (also known as Mommy Labor Nurse).
This time around, I know where I stand on things, and I know I may have to speak up, even if I feel very awkward or uncomfortable doing so.
8. I didn’t keep a pregnancy journal
When you’re pregnant (and later enjoying your newborn), you think you’re just going to remember a lot of this stuff forever.
But here I am a couple of years later wracking my brain trying to recall details.
I really wish I had kept a pregnancy journal to look back on and remember how I felt, what I was doing, what I was thinking…
It would be such a special treasure to also someday share with my daughter.
This pregnancy, I’m keeping a pregnancy journal that I add to every couple of days. I keep a food and symptom log, and write a “Dear Baby” entry about little things that happened during my day and thoughts I have.
9. I didn’t address my prenatal depression
Truthfully, I didn’t even know there was such a thing.
All I’d heard about was postpartum depression.
I knew I was experiencing something dark and negative, and that it wasn’t healthy, but I had no idea it could be connected to my pregnancy hormones or that I could do anything about it.
I didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t even think to research it.
This pregnancy, I am working just as hard to promote emotional health for myself as well as physical. The most impact thing for me in that regard has been managing my blood sugar, which I learned to do following the Trim Healthy Mama plan.
10. I didn’t get a pregnancy pillow
Dang, do I wish I’d had a pregnancy pillow my first time around.
I thought it was so silly that women were buying these enormous monster pillows that left their husbands slipping off the edge of the bed.
…At least, until I started waking up in the morning with every joint in my entire body ridiculously sore and achy.
Man, you don’t realize just how many things hurt during pregnancy!
By the time I actually considered one, I didn’t’ feel like I could justify the expense on a giant pillow I was just going to end up storing in a few months time, but my knees and hips and back and neck and shoulders (and probably some other things) paid the price.
This time around, I got a pregnancy pillow right from the get-go!
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Did any of my mistakes resonate with you? Tell me about your pregnancy, and where you’re at right now!
If you’re an expecting mama, you might also enjoy: