I am no expert on parenting, I am feeling this whole process out as I go. Regardless, I have two pieces of advice that I offer to every expecting mom out there:
1. Trust your instincts, as they will guide you through this crazy journey of parenting; and
2. Let go of your due date!
Seriously, far too much weight is placed on the due date. It becomes this magical date in the future upon which you will be meeting your treasure. And, for the next nine months, you will count down the days to your expected most magnificent day ever. It is circled/highlighted/flagged on any means that keeps track of dates.
In quite sad reality, it is estimated that only 5% of babies arrive on their due date. How is that possible?! Why do doctors and nurses allow us over-emotional mothers-to-be live in this dream world?!
Clearly, I am harboring bad feelings about due dates. I am 6 years into my parenting journey and I still recognize May 5 as the “due date that never happened.” I was completely astonished when he did not arrive.
The doctors had all but promised me that he would be here on May 5 and I had no doubt that he would be in my arms! He showed up on May 12. The dates of February 24 (arrival: March 5) and January 20 (arrival: January 29) also bring about resentment in my head. On the other hand, I have a good friend who delivered all three of her babies before her due date. You just don’t know where you are going to fall on the spectrum.
The real situation should be that an expecting mom has a “due month”….in other words take your arbitrarily prescribed due date (okay, I know that fertility science backs it, but it still seems arbitrary) and expand it by 2-3 weeks in either direction. If you haven’t yet felt like a ticking time bomb, get ready for that! You could literally blow at any second! Because pregnancy really needs more ambiguity around it. Honestly, I completely see why some women have an elective cesarean, the ultra organized control freak in me would really have loved to have a 100% precise date…too bad she’s terrified of surgery.
Plus, once you are a woman “past her due date,” you can saddle up for some great advice from everyone that you come into contact with. Please, in the name of all the Gods in the world, don’t EVER tell an expecting mother what worked for you. If she asks, however, then please share the wisdom of your special blend of a Lionel Ritchie CD and Chinese food. Trust me, her doctor/midwife/nurse has already advised said cranky lady on the possibilities for evacuation of her bouncy occupant and she has Googled it extensively. The bottom line is that the baby will come out and it really doesn’t matter when.
So please, knocked up mommas, let go of your due date. In the name of your mental well being, the healthiest thing for you is to truly understand that your baby can show up any time before and any time after the date that you have poured your heart into. And for all you onlookers, please help to ease a poor pregnant woman’s anxiety, and stop asking expecting moms about the due date. Ask her how far along she is. Ask her how she’s feeling. Heck, ask her if you can rub her back for a few minutes. And don’t forget to tell her that she looks amazing. She knows that you are lying through your teeth, but trust me, she needs to hear it more than anything else.