Estimated Due Dates are just that. Estimates. Guesses. Anything that is scheduled 10 months out and depends on information as unpredictable as periods and gestation cannot be more than a hypothesis at best. Some babies take 37 weeks to cook and others get comfy until week 42.
It all sounds very reasonable when one is weeks or months away from said date. When I first announced my pregnancy and people asked when I was due, I was purposely vague. “Oh, end of February or early March” was my canned response. Having been nearly two weeks late with my first, I knew things may take shorter or longer depending on countless circumstances.
Now, here I sit five days past my due date with the child very much still on the inside and not even close to in my arms. The feelings going through my mind and my body are running crazy. If you’re one of those people who have babies right on time or even a few days early, you are lucky and a significant part of me hates you right now.
But if you've experienced the waiting game, I’m guessing some of the following feelings and experiences will hit pretty close to home.
1. You can no longer text or call people without sounding off alarms.
Every phone call you make is met with an expectant, “Is baby here?!” followed by obvious disappointment when they realize that it’s just you wanting to catch up. I sent a group text to my family a couple days before my due date asking an unrelated questions about vacation dates for the summer and was met with, “Don’t text us unless you’re having a baby!” Message received.
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2. You get fatter.
I got irrationally pissed at my unborn child because if he had come on his due date I would have been right on track with my weight gain. The fact that he decided to make his debut late gave me another two weeks to eat my frustration, pack on the pounds and retain water. Up until my due date I was wearing regular shoes and my wedding rings still kind of fit. After my due date, I gained five pounds in four day and was told, “It’s just water weight," which totally that didn’t help me feel better.
3. People look at you differently.
There’s this look that is bestowed upon ladies 40+ weeks pregnant that is unlike any other glance you have seen. It contains a mixtures of awe (“How is that woman walking?”, “She looks good considering…..”) , sympathy (“That poor thing!”, “She looks miserable!”), and impatience (“When is this baby going to come?”, “She’s been pregnant SO long!”) The first few times I got this look it felt kind of good—like people felt bad for me but thought I was badass at the same time. By week 42 I had developed my own response—a look that silently said, “I KNOW, right?”
4. You stop wearing real pants.
This begins earlier for some. No matter your pregnancy style, by the end, fashion seems to go out the window and your daily getting dressed routine is based on a few very important criterion: 1. Does it still fit? 2. Does it stretch? 3. Is it clean? 4. Does it involve bending over to zip/tie/button?
Not to be too graphic here, but there’s a lot going on down south before you actually get to experience pushing a watermelon-sized human out of your lady bits.
5. You get bored.
I spent weeks 36 to 40 feeling mostly nervous that I would go into labor and not be ready. What if we don’t have names picked out? What if my hospital bag isn’t packed? What if the crib isn’t set up? What if that adorable newborn swaddle blanket I ordered from Etsy hasn’t arrived yet? It's all things to get done before your due date. One that passes, there’s little else to do besides sit around and be bored out of your skull.
6. You constantly think you're going into labor.
Not to be too graphic here, but there’s a lot going on down south before you actually get to experience pushing a watermelon-sized human out of your lady bits. There are signs. Every change, big or small, becomes a sign that labor is near. Lower back pain? I’m in labor... or my huge ass belly is just throwing off my alignment. Contractions? I’m in labor... or they're just Braxton Hicks for the 5,432nd time today. Water Broke? I’m definitely in labor.... or you just peed your poor, incontinent self. Anyway you throw it, it seems that all of these “sure” signs of labor are actually not signs at all.
7. You consider crazy ways to induce labor.
Ever scoff at someone for doing something extreme or stupid only to actually become so desperate that the idea seems completely legit later? I wanted that baby out of me. Pumping my milk-less ladies to start contractions? Done! Eating spicy food or walking the stairs? Easy! I even considered downing castor oil which pretty much guarantees explosive diarrhea and vomiting.
I’ve heard rumor of overdue pregnant ladies who glow. Supposedly some women are rational/zen enough by the weeks past their due dates to remember that Baby should not be rushed and things will happen when they're supposed to happen.
For the rest of us though, we can stand united in the struggle of being pregnant for what feels like years and feeling so anxious to meet our little one that we just about drive ourselves nuts.