Overdue: The Final Countdown
Updated: Jan 15, 2019
I’ve been told that you’re not allowed to be upset with a pregnant woman. So I’m going to take advantage of this opportunity and pour out some thoughts that I think people would normally hold back. Maybe this honesty will help someone else down the road…
A friend shared this blog post today on Facebook and I have to say (even though her tone is a bit harsh) that I found it very comforting and am totally on board: http://boganette.me/2015/02/26/i-am-grateful-now-fuck-off/
There are a few parts of this blog that especially resonated with me:
“Here’s the deal – trying to be helpful or not – it isn’t. It isn’t helpful. It’s condescending, patronising, and it’s actually (without being melodramatic but maybe a bit melodramatic) it’s dangerous”“(Telling people to be grateful) leads to those parents shutting down and never sharing how they truly feel. It leads to parents not having support networks. It leads to parents walking into parenthood without any idea of how hard some moments, some days, can be. It leads to such unfair expectations on parents – enjoy every minute or you’re a fucking monster. It leads to feeling like you’re doing it all wrong.” “(When) you make a comment about being grateful, it implies I’m not grateful. And in my sleep deprived state it makes me feel like an asshole.” “And the more I get it the more I feel like I can’t talk about the hard parts of parenting, or the things I’m struggling with.”
As we passed the one-week-overdue milestone (and I learned that my dating by ultrasound way back when actually shows the baby being 2 days older than my due date says!) I have received many messages from well-wishers checking in on me, giving me advice, or telling me how to feel. I love that you’re thinking of us and that you’re sending positive vibes and hoping things are going well, but as this other blog post suggests, some people are being a bit more helpful than others. Here are some things that, while I know you mean the best, actually aren’t all that helpful:
“Is the baby here yet?”/“Any news?”/“Are you in labour yet?”/ “Any movement?”/ “Anything happening?”/ “Are you still pregnant?”/“Soak this in” / “Enjoy the quiet while you can” / “Enjoy the boredom”/“In the grand scheme of things, it’s only a few days/weeks”/“Sleep while you still can” (side note: between getting up to pee 100 times a night and pregnancy insomnia, most nights, I can’t)
These kinds of comments, while sweet and thoughtful, aren’t always as encouraging as you might think they are. The truth is, this sucks. Plain and simple. Every pregnancy (and every baby) is different so you probably don’t know exactly how it feels to be me, especially if you’ve been one of the lucky ones who went early or on time with your own little one. I felt uncomfortable and finished being pregnant at 37 weeks, and getting through every day has been a challenge, so now that I’ve passed 41 weeks, I can’t even describe how I feel anymore. I can logically and rationally understand what you’re saying (I’m not arguing that it is easier to take care of him on the inside than it will be on the outside, or that this time is fleeting, or that he’s just too comfy in there) but that just doesn’t make me feel better. Please don’t be offended if I haven’t returned your call or haven’t responded to your message. It’s just been easier to cope without hearing and saying the same things over and over again. It warms my heart to know I’m on your mind, but the key to passing this time with a (semi-)smile on my face has been distraction.
I’ve invented so many random projects to keep myself distracted and busy, but after several weeks, I’ve already completed “the list” several times over. Am I grateful for the extra time to get a pedicure or sew fancy bibs or clean all the doorknobs? Sure! Would I rather have my baby in my arms (and out of my belly)? Absolutely. I am doing everything I can to “enjoy” this time. But honestly, it is not enjoyable. It is uncomfortable and hard and frustrating and disappointing.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve felt a loss of control…waiting and going through cycles of hope and disappointment. Another thing parents and parents-to-be often don’t talk about is that this isn’t the first time that we’ve had to wait longer than we would have liked to for this baby to arrive. Most of you probably don’t know it wasn’t easy for us to get pregnant with this baby, and so disappointment and patience is something we’ve experienced and practiced quite a bit. While I may be complaining about my discomfort and frustration now, I am absolutely grateful that this little guy is on his way and can’t wait to hold him in my arms in just a few more days.
The real update is: no, we haven’t had the baby yet. But we have hit the point where whether he thinks he’s ready to come out or not, he’ll be here in the next few days. I had an ultrasound a couple of days ago to make sure that everyone was still doing okay and that alone did wonders to ease my worries and help me re-bond with the baby. Please don’t judge me. I had reached a point where I felt so pregnant that there was no longer a light at the end of the tunnel. My miserable mind was playing tricks on me. I felt like I was going to be pregnant forever. Maybe my baby hated me and didn’t want to come out. Maybe our baby was actually a bit of a jerk. But truth be told, he’s as low as he can possible be (has been for weeks, the poor guy) and my body just isn’t letting him out. Maybe he actually wants to come out and is trapped!
Seeing him on that screen helped him become real again and reminded me about the prize that comes at the end of all this discomfort and misery. We’ll find out soon enough, but he might be a giant baby (like I was)… and unless my eyes are playing tricks on me with this ultrasound photo, he might have enormous cheeks! I can’t wait to meet him in just a few days and find out…
My favourite part of this girl’s blog post were her suggestions at the end for things that people can say to her instead of “be grateful”. Here are some things that you have said (or could say) that I have found (or would find) comforting:
“How are you feeling?” / “How are you doing, my poor pregnant friend?”/ “Hang in there!” / “You’re so close!”/ “Waiting is the worst! But your little one will be here soon and you can soak up all those baby snuggles and baby love.”/ “My baby was 2 weeks late. It sucks being so huge, but it’s great having a baby with a few more weeks to become healthier and stronger.”/ “Those bibs are adorable!” / “Good for you, putting your energy into something so great“/ “Let’s make plans for next week but I hope not to see you then.”
I also really liked her suggestion in that blog of “that sounds tough, want me to drop you over something with chocolate in it?” For future reference, that would probably be helpful under any circumstances.