So, I’ve hit the big 4 0. As I write, I am 40 + 4 – 6hrs. Sound a bit ridiculous and silly? That’s because it is. Your 40 week due date is a date prescribed to you by doctors based on the first day of your last period: it doesn’t take into account how long your menstrual cycle is (mine is crazily irregular…it can be anything from 28-38 days) and nor does it consider when you actually conceived. So although some women have a body that behaves like clockwork, and they may know the date you conceived, the vast majority of us are not so ‘normal’ or regimented. For this reason, only 1 in 20 women actually delivers her baby on her due date – you’re just as likely to go into labour any day during the two weeks before or after. As Hollie from the yesmummum puts it, “your due date means nothing….You are not a robot and neither is your baby.”
Which is why I don’t understand the whole obsession over due dates in the first place. If we know them to be scientifically dodgy, why do we place so much emphasis on them? It is single handedly the most-asked question as soon as people find out you’re pregnant, and indeed throughout pregnancy. People want to know the exact date you’re going to produce a baby, as if they want to schedule it in their diary (let alone yours!) I always went out of my way to just say “the end of May” when people asked, but now that I am clearly reaching the end of my pregnancy, people want exacts.
So when they find out I’m “overdue”, they (friends, dear friends!) react by sending text messages asking boring questions such as “Are you in labour yet”. Even if I were in labour, do they really think I would be texting them telling them? The other thing people do is immediately jump to suggest I take castor oil, consume copious amounts of chilli or have “hard (yes, really!) sex.” Can you tell this is niggling me? Anyway, here’s 5 reasons why I find this attitude slightly irksome and why I’m taking none of their advice – and simply, calmly, just waiting.
1. Without sounding like a whack, I trust my baby. My husband and I have been practicing hypnobirthing through this pregnancy which, even if it all goes to pot in the actual labour and I can’t muster up a single positive thought (please no!), it has certainly helped reinforce the idea that I already knew anyway. It can be summed up in what has come to be one of our favourite phrases we now pass to each other smiling, which is “baby knows best”. I love the fact that my baby is just “chilling” (the word I like to use most frequently), floating about in my tummy, happy as larry (according to the midwife). I’m not worried as I know he or she will certainly let me know once they are ready to make their way into the world.
2. Being “late” has allowed me to really, really prepare for this baby. We are aiming for a home birth, and there is actually a surprising amount to do ahead of one (and I’m still sure that in the moment there will be things that I’ve not thought of) I’m not quite sure what I would have done had I been “early”. It’s also allowed me to do some more things often considered luxuries, such as go swimming, dig out old heirloom cribs and arrange photos into an album. All things that, let’s face it, you just don’t get to do half as easily once a baby comes along. I wrote a blog post here about everything I was planning to do on maternity leave – which coincidentally, I started early in case I wouldn’t have all this time!
3. And most luxurious of all? Being able to spend some amazing quality time with my toddler with him as my only little one. We’ve had some gorgeous slow days together in the garden and pottering in the kitchen – and yes whilst now admittedly I find taking care of him really arduous and am so fortunate to have help from parents and in laws, I love soaking up these times with him. I’ve also been able to introduce the idea of a ‘baby’ and every night we put a baby doll to sleep and in the morning we go and wake her up together which has been really special (and cute!)
4. It is simply amazing being blissfully lazy! By that, I mean having free license to order take aways – and eat them in bed, go to sleep at 9.30pm guilt- free, watch films in duvets, take day time naps. At what point in your life, other than when you are heavily pregnant are you able to really call the shots and decide what you do of a Saturday night? Don’t fancy getting out of your PJs all day? Not a problem. It’s been amazing; it feels so good for the soul and has been so lovely for not just me, but for mine and Sam’s relationship.
5. A bump is for 9 months, not for life. I want to cherish this time being pregnant – I know it is a real honour and not something everyone can go through so why would I wish any of it away? (Fortunately, I’ve felt well throughout and only had minor aches and pains – I do appreciate that suffering from chronic pelvic girdle pain would make this another story.) It is such a special time, that I am patiently riding out and soaking up. Surely pregnancy – however long it turns out to be- is really the first lesson in learning to practice patience as a parent?
So those are my reasons I want to tell “enquiring” people to politely sod off when they press me to get an induction, or keep asking if I’ve progressed. Of course if the baby is in distress, or I am not feeling movement, or if I go over 2 weeks, I will act and consider my options. But til then, I’m very happy snoozing, opting for pizza over curry and not having someone stick their hand up me if they don’t have to, thank you very much. This is the best waiting game in the world people! Anyway, besides all of that, I’m sure the minute that I press ‘publish’ on this post, something will happen…