My Due Date
It's one of the top 3 questions I get from anyone who finds out I'm pregnant: "When are you due?"
The official answer: Early summer.
And I have to apologize to everyone who has asked and been disappointed that I didn't give an exact date, but the fact is that nobody knows it. Not even the closest of family and friends.
[OK, I lied- a few people know, like our midwife, doula, birth photographer, and a couple people who need to know for the business...but that's about it]
Odd, right? The thing is, I actually have all of my pregnant patients to thank for having taught me this lesson before getting pregnant. I decided a while ago that this would be the smartest way to go through my pregnancy, and I want more moms to consider this, so let's chat about WHY my husband and I have chosen to do this.
"Is the baby here yet?"
"You're STILL pregnant?"
"So have you scheduled your induction/C-section?"
"Still no baby?"
"Heyyy...so...how're you doing??? (read: Still pregnant, huh?)"
Certainly these are all coming from well-meaning friends and family. And you try not to be mad or irritated, but when you feel like you're 84 months pregnant, anything is game for making you irritated...and especially having the same questions over and over day after day (they'll probably start by 36 weeks...and imagine how it will feel if they continue if you go into 41 or 42 weeks!).
So quite simply, Jake and I eliminated the opportunity for people to ask us these questions entirely. Here's why:
1. A due date is nothing more than a prediction, anyway.
In fact, it's often referred to in obstetric text as your "estimated due date" (or EDD). And that's all it is: an estimation. Only about 5% of babies are born on their EDD. So if you miss that mark, you have nothing to worry about!
Google the longest human pregnancy on record. Don't get discouraged. Chances are that yours won't be THAT long. But. The simple point is that all babies take different times to cook! The worst thing we could do is put a time clock on them when maybe they just needed a few extra days. Remember that babies don't have a timer that dings and tells them when it's time to start labor just because they've been in your womb for 280 complete rotations of the Earth. No. As certain fetal developmental milestones are met, it signals to mom's body that baby is ready to survive outside of her womb, and THAT is how labor is started. So wait for your baby to give you those cues!
So the real answer to when people ask your due date: When baby is ready.
2. Mom's mental health (ok, her sanity)
This was really the KEY reason we have chosen to keep our EDD private, because there are actually a couple facets as to how simple questions like this can affect mom's mental health:
- Think about how much time you might end up spending simply responding to calls and texts with these repetitive questions. Especially during the end of pregnancy, this would be great time to take a nap, read a book, go to the movies, do a painting...something that's cathartic to you so you can focus on yourself!
- It's just like high school: Peer pressure is real. The more you receive the constant reminder of "you're late" or "baby should be here soon," the more likely you'll find yourself actually believing that! And once you believe that, you set the time limit on yourself, even if you know better. Having that "deadline" shifts you into a state of stress (aka fight or flight) as that magical date approaches, and can actually cause going into labor, or progressing through labor, without medical assistance to be very difficult.
For me, I knew that I trust my body enough to want to focus ONLY on me, my baby, and my husband as my pregnancy draws to an end. Of course, your due date is your business as to who you want to tell, and who you feel the need to tell. But in the end, your baby will be here when he or she is ready. So focus on you and make the decisions that work best for you and your baby!