11 Things Pregnant Women Should Stop Feeling Guilty About

With so much conflicting pregnancy advice out there, it's easy to feel like you're doing it all wrong. Relax, mama-to-be, and say bye-bye to guilt over any of these things.

pregnant woman drinking coffee on the couch
Photo: oliveromg/Shutterstock

Mom guilt seems to set in way before baby even makes his or her appearance. Am I doing this right? Should I do more of this or less of that? It's time to put an end to the unnecessary anxiety we feel from the moment we take that positive pregnancy test. Here are just a few of the things mothers-to-be need to stop feeling guilty about right now.

1. Being a Party Pooper

From the moment a woman gets pregnant, fatigue becomes part of her everyday life. You may not want to be the lame one in the group and call it a night at 9:00 p.m., but you're bringing new life into this world and it is a tough, all-consuming job! Don't feel bad about cutting social events short to sneak in a little more shut-eye. It could be years before you get proper sleep again, so don't be too shy to demand it now.

2. Eating Junk Food

While you should try to maintain an overall healthy diet for you and your unborn baby, sneaking in a treat now and then is not the end of the world. You're not well on your way to being a horrible mother because you snuck in some chocolate after lunch. Cut yourself some slack and enjoy a little indulgence here and there—guilt-free!

3. Having a Short Fuse

When there is another human quite literally sucking the life out of you, it's not unusual to lose your temper on occasion. You may find yourself a little snappier than usual with those closest to you—or even the cashier at the grocery store on occasion. Try not to feel too bad about it. You're doing enough for the world right now so it totally cancels out your newfound road rage.

4. Not Exercising

Your health is important for both you and your unborn child. If your doctor has given you the go-ahead to work out but you still can't bring yourself to do it, don't sweat it. Lots of women feel way too tired to exercise, especially if you're working and have other children already. You may feel especially guilty if you worked out during a previous pregnancy. You're not slacking. You're just trying to make it through 10 months (yes, pregnancy is actually 10 months!) with at least a shred of sanity left.

5. Not Having the "Perfect" Bump

Social media has done great things for moms-to-be. For example, where would our baby nurseries be without the magic of Pinterest? But social media can have a dark side, too. After the millionth photo of the "perfect" baby bump, pregnant women can start to feel self-conscious if their bump is different. Maybe you've put on weight sooner or your bump is smaller or larger than another woman's. It's all fine—all of it. There is no such thing as the perfect bump. Every woman and every pregnancy is totally different.

6. Wanting to Know the Gender

We all say it, "I don't care what it is, I just want a healthy baby!" And ultimately, yes, this is all that really matters. But being curious about your baby's gender and being anxious to get started on that picture-perfect nursery is nothing to be embarrassed about. No one will doubt that you love your baby wholeheartedly just because you're curious to know whether you should buy blue or pink paint.

7. Hating Pregnancy

Loving your child unconditionally doesn't mean you have to love every moment of being pregnant with them, too. In fact, loads of women hate being pregnant altogether. Maybe you have unbearable morning sickness, aren't happy with your changing body, or are just fed up of carrying around the extra load. Whatever the reason, you are allowed to dislike pregnancy. At one point or another, we all wish we could just hit the fast-forward button and get to the best part—when your little one is in you arms for the first time.

8. Not Having a Birthing Plan

While some women find a birthing plan extremely helpful and rely on theirs to a T, some women don't feel the need to have one. You're not a lazy or uncaring mother because you don't feel like or think you need a birthing plan. This is your pregnancy and your baby—no one can tell you how to do it right. You probably skipped Lamaze class and the tour of the birthing center, too—you're not alone.

9. Being Irritated by All the Unsolicited Advice

No mother-to-be should ever feel guilty about this one, because we have yet to meet the pregnant woman who adored all the advice she didn't ask for. Lots of people, from relatives to complete strangers, feel compelled to share their best tips with a pregnant woman. Some may be useful and some may not be. But one thing is for sure—we all roll our eyes by the tenth time someone tries to teach you how to burp your unborn baby the "right way."

10. Not Quitting Caffeine

Lots of women think you need to nix caffeine altogether when you get pregnant and even more women have tremendous difficulty doing so. Caffeine isn't easy to quit. Plus, you don't have to. While most experts agree you should forego the refills, one cup of Joe a day is usually fine for most pregnant women. Check with your doctor to be sure, but don't feel like you've already failed at motherhood because you just can't kick the habit altogether.

11. Wanting Your Body Back

And we don't mean wanting it back in shape—we mean wanting it back to yourself again. The freedom to sleep on your belly, bend down to put on your own shoes, and put on coat without looking like a tent. Your body has been all yours for a long time so it's pretty normal to want it back. There's absolutely no shame in counting down the days until you can put on your own socks again—without having to guess whether or not they actually match.

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