I’m usually an eternal optimist who is really good at compartmentalizing and shoving under the rug any negativity. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about things I regret so far in my parenting experience. Maybe it’s because I’ve thought seriously about the fact that we may not have another child and I may not get a do-over. Whatever the reason, I’m going to treat these four negative thoughts like a meditation and let them come into focus and then hopefully pass on, out of my mind.  

The first regret is probably a common one: I regret decisions made that impacted my birth experience. Although I had a positive birth experience in the end, it wasn’t what I wanted. I regret not fighting harder to naturally progress rather than be induced. I had in my head that if they pushed for syntocin/pitocin, I’d negotiate for more stretch and sweeps and go back for more acupuncture. But instead I gave in to pitocin at one of several non-stress-tests (that revealed baby was totally fine in there). I wish I’d held out. Having the baby in the hospital wasn’t even the part I regret – it was the IV. That was the worst part of the whole birth experience for me. Really and truly. 

Along the lines of how I ended up giving birth with pitocin in the hospital, I regret not taking blood pressure drugs near the end of my pregnancy when the consulting OB offered them. It could have enabled me to have a home birth, and it might have prevented my postpartum blood pressure scares and several trips to the walk in clinic with a brand new baby. I wish I could have done the lie-in where the new mom just lays in bed for days with the new baby. 

I regret not having a photographer at the birth, or at least a good friend to take pictures. The only pictures we got from the first 24 hours of her life were a few I asked the nurses to snap when she had already been on my chest for a while, and a few my wife took of Avery swaddled in the plastic hospital bassinet later that morning. We were a little too preoccupied to think about taking pictures. 

And one that’s not birth related: I regret trying so hard to move Avery toward independent sleeping, from the nights we battled with putting her down in the bassinet when she was colicky (and it was the witching hour) to the arduous no-cry sleep training we attempted when she was 3 months old. I think it’s important for me to think about this regret now, as we continue the battle of moving her to her own room. We’re moving her so my wife and I can get alone time in bed, but I haven’t been in our bed for almost a month now, what with the phase of sleeping in the chair when she woke every 15 minutes, to now, as I sleep on the floor with her in her room. Maybe I shouldn’t be trying so hard. Maybe I should welcome her back into our bed… 

Maybe some regrets aren’t just “too lates.” Maybe they can be signs that you can do things differently moving forward…