A Little Happier: Sometimes, You Feel Regret Either Way.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I love examples of someone knowing the right thing to say.

In this case, a doctor said the right thing to my friend — when she admitted to feeling a little let down by the news that she was going to give birth to a boy. She’d been so excited to be having a baby, boy or girl, but when she heard the news, she felt a bit sorry.

He told her, “Of course you feel this way. Before you knew if you were having a boy or a girl, you could look forward to both experiences. Now you know that you’re having a boy. It’s natural to feel regret about the future that’s not going to happen.

I thought that was such a wise observation. Sometimes in life, going down one path means abandoning another path. And it’s natural to feel regret about the path not taken. That doesn’t mean you’re unhappy with the path you’re on.

This mini-episode is brought to you by Prudential. Their new podcast Everyday Bravery brings inspiring and personal stories about finding the courage that brings out the best in us. Go to EverydayBravery.com or subscribe everywhere podcasts are available.

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 Happier listening!

  • A

    Gretchen, What’s the thing Elizabeth always says about regret (she first said it on the break-up advice podcast relating to having more kids)? It’s something like this… like, it’s okay to regret? It’s killing me that I can’t remember.

  • racenerak

    Looking forward to listening to this later! This made me think, I have come to realize that grief is an emotion that can be regularly felt outside of the context of death. I feel like maybe that’s what the doctor was referring to, more than regret. Great topic!

  • Gillian

    This made me think again of Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken. It was read at my highschool graduation ceremony (52 years ago!) and I often think of it when having to make a decision about which path to take. We seldom have the opportunity to know if we made the right choice.

    • James Frady

      Hence the picture to accompany the article. That it one of my all time favorite poems, and Robert Frost is one of my all time favorite poets. I thought of the same poem.

  • mom2luke

    That was JUST the right thing to say! Validation, understanding, excitement for both possibilities….recognition only one can happen, this pregnancy anyway. SO insightful!

  • Zupamum

    Wow! This story is so timely for my family. My daughter is having a baby and i had a baby reveal party for her to find out the sex. I received the letter from the doctor’s office to get the sex news so it could be a surprise for her and her husband. She had been telling me all along that it was going to be a girl because of the heartbeat and the way she was carrying! She started looking at girl accessories to decorate the nursery and thought of names! To her utter surprise, she is having a boy! When she found out she cried and was in total disbelief! I still am not sure if it was a major disappointment or just the shock of it! I think she is leery because we have no boys in our family and she doesn’t know what to do with a boy!

  • Thank you for the inspiration!

  • What a beautiful thing to say. Thank you for sharing this, because no matter what we choose in life — even if it’s a choice we absolutely love — it’s nice to know it’s okay to feel like we’ve missed out on something that could have been. Maybe some experiences will always come around again in their own way and time…