Wednesday, December 25, 2013

10 Things NOT To Say To An Overdue Mama

Our due date for our third boy was yesterday, and as we fully expected, but kind of hoped against, still no baby.

The wait, like with the last two, is once again eating at me.  I went 10 days overdue with both boys, and might have gone more if I hadn't been induced with the first, and helped along with some herbs, oils and acupuncture with the second.  My babies may just like to take their sweet time.

I feel like I should just be over it.  I feel like concentrating on a due date (which statistically is only 4-5% accurate, according to my extensive reading on the subject) is a bit ridiculous at best.  But because of my subsequent births, and a bit of eagerness, even by my midwives, to get those babies out at the 10 day overdue limit, has put me on an annoying ticking clock that I can't get out of my head.

This brings me to my ranty bit.  I have heard all of these things from various well-meaning people, two times over.  This time, the chance that I'll lash out irrationally at someone is a bit higher if we need to wait much longer. So I thought compiling a helpful list might prevent some weary pregnant mama from committing homicide - plus writing this all down is therapeutic for me. Enjoy!

10 Things NOT To Say To An Overdue Mama.

1. "You're STILL pregnant?"

Why ask this? There is really no less tactful or pointless question.  Do you see a baby? No? Then do not be an ass and make this lady, who would dearly like to meet her baby, feel like the slowest elephant on the block.

2. "Baby yet?" (Better yet, texting this every single day till the baby has actually arrived)

If you do this, your friend will have visions of punching you in the face.  Maybe not the first time, and if she's really charitable, the second time might get a pass too.  Third time though, wow... your face in her mind is accessorized with a beautiful black eye.  Rule of thumb is, ask once. Perhaps accompany it with something like, "You're in my thoughts."  Chances are, the parents will be more than ready and willing to shout the good news from the rooftops once the baby is finally born, and you'll hear about it, so go find something to do.

3. "You must feel like you've been pregnant forever."

Combine this with the above and you've got yourself two black eyes. Say this to someone who has been pregnant once, twice or three times more in the last few years, and you might have her mentally-breaking your nose too.  No matter how sympathetic you think you're being, this just doesn't help.  A caveat can be extended for people who have actually had the same experience.

4. "What will they do if you go too far past (the due date)?"

I personally have a love/hate relationship with this question. Hate it because it implies that "they" are in control of this pregnancy and that it is not a natural process, and it also implies that there's something failing in my body or something wrong with the baby that is causing it not to come at its pre-determined time.  Now, yes, there are risks, but MOST people were not born on their due dates and there is overwhelming evidence that most of the time, when mama is healthy and well, she can maintain the baby just fine for awhile longer than 40 weeks.  On the other hand, I like this because it gives me the opportunity to talk about how due dates are actually pretty unreliable in how they are calculated.

5. "Aren't due dates supposed to be pretty accurate?" 

No. No. No. They are a ball-park estimate. 4-5% accurate. That's not even a safe bet.  If there were a 4-5% chance of success in any other field, people just wouldn't base anything on it. Yet, with babies and due dates, we love to fixate on a day.  Now you know. Never ask this.

6. "Wow. Baby must be getting really big in there."

Yes. It must be. But nothing throws a woman whose birth is close on the horizon into more panic than the idea of a labour that goes badly, and big baby = harder delivery - so don't say this.   Even as someone who has pushed out a baby weighing 10 lb. 14 oz (read, nearly 11 lbs), it still freaks me out.  Do not imply that this is going to be harder than it needs to be.  There's nothing she can do about it now, so zip it.

7. "Have you tried... (bumpy car ride/ trampoline/ eating spicy food/ castor oil/ a long walk/ jumping jacks)?" 

Because you, in your infinite wisdom, gleaned from the Internet and old-wives tales have the solution. We know, your friend's friend did it and it "totally worked."  Your friend has probably already Googled it, and maybe even tried a few, so don't waste your breath.

8. "Well, you must just be too comfortable for the baby."

Again, that says to her, "there's something wrong with you."  NOT what we need to be hearing.  Wombs are sure to be lovely places for babies to stay, but eventually, they do come out - don't make a mom feel like if she can't deliver the goods (excuse the pun) in a time-frame, she's a Lincoln, not a Maserati.

9. "Aw... you're still here (look of sympathetic dismay)."

Of course she's still here! But despite the fact she'd much rather be in bed somewhere, having just met her new little one, she has decided getting out of the house is a good idea.  Be happy to see your friend, and as the old adage says, "if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything."

10. "My friend's sister was really late too, and they (insert horrible story about a too big baby who had to be born via emergency c-section or the like)."

Wow, you always know just what to say!  Baahhh.
If you were about to do something really difficult, would you like to hear all of the ways it can go wrong? I've heard of people having heart attacks after running marathons, of surgeries that have been unsuccessful and ended in death, and of people who visit foreign countries and get mugged, but would you tell people this?  No! You wish them luck!

In short, be kind to pregnant women nearing the end.  These mamas are already in a bit of a fragile state. They're looking for comfort and encouragement while they wait.  No matter how eager you are to meet her new baby, I can guarantee her longing is about 100 times yours.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 14

More lovely takes at Conversion Diary.

We are in the final stretch of pregnancy, and I'm experiencing some brain fog and some major clarity all at once...  Can't remember why I opened a particular drawer, but I'll have some great revelation about trusting in God's timing that will totally blow my mind. A lot is going on, and yet, I'm sitting here waiting...

ONE:

I must begin briefly on a sad note to call for prayers for a family who has experienced devastating loss. For a few weeks I have watched and waited as a family from my hometown searched for their son, who left his house on December 1 and disappeared.  There was an extensive search done in the community, and it ended in tragedy when he was found dead. It was confirmed yesterday that he committed suicide.

Please lift up him and his family in prayer:

I can not apologize for this sad note.  I was going to say something like, "Sorry to put a damper on your Christmas preparations," but I'm not sorry.
Sitting here, 9 months pregnant, there's not a lot I can do for this family but ask some praying families to lift them up - because right now, they are in desperate need of comfort.  So please pray.

TWO:

Things like the above have been on my mind.  Things that make it hard for families to celebrate Christmas. My family lost my dad over 3 years ago when he was killed in a car collision.  Christmas has been hard ever since, and I imagine it always will be.

The difficult Christmases we've experienced however, have reminded me that Christmas is not only about being with family, eating delicious food, giving presents and love and laughter.  Sometimes we treat Christmas like an untouchable, untaintable experience that must, at all costs, be happy, happy, happy.  But that's not the real Christmas.

Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The very same Jesus who would die for us. The very same Jesus who would experience the reality of being a man.  Christmas points to the reality of God's love and of His desire for us to join him in heaven.  It reminds me that our life here is temporary - my dad's death brings that temporary state home for me.  Christmas joy for me, now points to the joy that will be heaven.  Heaven that became possible through us by the birth of Jesus.  I suppose death - the reality of death - the REALNESS of humanity - mortality - has made the Christmas experience a little more poignant, but God's love all the more real.

THREE:

I was honoured be asked to give a talk at a mom's group I regularly attend, relating my pregnancy to the experience of Advent.  A friend of mine missed the talk, and asked that I turn it into a blog, so watch for it. I'll put it up in the next few days, you know, if I don't have a baby in the next few days. Babies are kind of a time-suck.

FOUR:

On Monday, I went to a little house concert performed by this lovely lady, Sarah Buckham.  I love her voice and her style.  I bought her CD (which I totally encourage you to do) and have not stopped listening to it since.  It might even come with me to the birth of this babe.

FIVE:

It is 8 a.m and my kids are still sleeping.  We attended an active birth class last night, and my mom watched the boys.  She must have tired them out, because usually they're upstairs waking us up before 7.  I've had time to have a coffee by myself and to actually have coherent thoughts.

SIX:

It's baby-prep day.  I need to do those little things, like make sure my hospital bag has my healthcare card and social insurance number in it, install the carseat (or get Joseph to do it, because well... my belly really makes it hard to hunch over in the minivan and fiddle with safety clips), get out the little clothes...

Snap! New train of thought... The little clothes! I look at them and I can't even believe my baby will be that small.  I also reminisce about each of the boys wearing them when I brought them home from the hospital, and when I took them to greet the public for the first time, and when they pooped those horrible poops that somehow don't even marr a baby's cuteness one little bit, but nonetheless, scar you for life.

Here's some photos of them, each almost a week old.
Patrick

Carter, fresh from the hospital (after 5 days in NICU)

SEVEN:

I asked my sister what her favourite Christmas song is... she replied "O Holy Night," and I love it too. 

Enjoy:


Thursday, December 12, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 13

More, less random (?) takes at Conversion Diary.

ONE:

My whining as of late: 
"I just want this baby OUUUT!"

2 weeks till the due date, but I'm cynical about it since both boys went 41 weeks, six days, and both needed some outside intervention finally get out...

I keep telling myself to trust my body.  My midwife said yesterday I just might have the "slow cooker version", and that's ok. 

However, I've been having talks with this child o' mine, and would dearly like to meet him by Christmas. 

Patience is the darnedest thing...

TWO:

This happened this week: 


Husband went out with a friend to get this.  Clearly my 8.5 month pregnant self was not up for the trek into the woods with two toddlers.  When he moved it in it was a lovely surprise.

THREE:

Joseph's company Christmas party is tonight, so I get to play hostess... To a bunch of dudes and possibly two girlfriends and one wife. Is it weird that I could care less what these guys think of my cooking and home, but I'm totally freaked of these three possible female attendees judging me?  
I scrubbed my bathtub... Like they'll be looking in the bathtub. 
As I look around my house, I'm thinking the only answer is to ply them with wine. Lots and lots of wine. 

FOUR:

I really hate tacky Christmas decorations.  Fake greenery is not my thing.  My husband seems to have a penchant for it however, so though I mercilessly tease him about it, I leave it up as a marital compromise.  This is my front door:


Yeah.  Joseph began humming the lines of "The Grinch" when I tried to react as though this doesn't look like Whoville resurrected.  

But what can I do? I love that man.

FIVE:

Carter is having a rough day.  All he wants to do is be beside me.  But with party food to prepare, little grabby hands are not helping.  I let him eat pineapple and oranges and cheese for lunch.  We'll see how that turns out later.  Thank goodness he's potty trained. 

SIX:

Little known facts about Joseph:

My husband and his sister could recite to you the movie "Holiday Inn" in it's entirety. 

He loved "Peanuts" as a kid, and even built himself a little Snoopy house when he was six or seven.  It sits under our tree each year:


SEVEN:

How awesome is it that Pope Francis is Time's person of the year!

I suspect it's a bit of a media trend to love him, but that's my cynical journalist talking.  He won them over by being awesome in the first place.

I really enjoy it when my non-Catholic friends post and talk about him.  It feels a bit like we're moving away from that media-hated version of the Church and towards the truth of it's beauty.

That's my extremely brief two cents.  

Enjoy your pink-candled weekend friends! 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Seven Quick Takes: Vol. 12



Grr! So late.  Yesterday was spent finishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows instead of quick takes but I started them Thursday night, and didn't want to leave them till next week!
See Conversion Diary for more quick takes fun.

ONE:

I have a lot happening right now, and I'm trying to resist the urge to just climb into bed and play the pregnancy card for getting out of everything.
Advent, looming due date, various parties and gatherings, Christmas wrapping and baking.
We're trying to keep it simple and fun, and almost a week in, Advent has been pleasant.

For myself, I've been focusing on getting a little more God-time into my day in a simple fashion... for example, I folded laundry, saying a prayer for the child whose clothing I folded either of supplication or thanksgiving. Surprisingly, thanking God for my kid's attributes and loveliness was easier than I thought.

For the kids, we've been helping them become aware of what Advent and Christmas are about. Basically, we read stories pertaining to Jesus' birth and the Nativity, and for a little fun:

Our Wisemen, searching for Jesus, and stopping for a snack.
TWO:

We took a family photo on Sunday - it will probably be our last before our new boy arrives - and I was happiest with this one:
Crazy that next year we'll be doing this with three kids.
Making two look at the camera was more than enough.
However, as much as I want to send this to all my family and friends, we'll be sending baby photos out too come January, so I'm saving myself the postage and printing and just skipping Christmas cards and doing a post-baby/Happy New Year card instead.  Take note, typical card recipients! You are not forgotten!

THREE:

Single or childless friends often observe our life and muse to me that they will be so happy when they too join the ranks of parenthood.  I usually feel a little scrutinized by these particular people, and either consciously or unconsciously, try to put on my happiest mommy-face and play up the percentage of time when parenting is not hard, thankless or tiring.  I've often wanted to write about how contentedness and happiness in parenting are something you achieve, not something that just happens when you're blessed with "the best kids ever."  But.... Matt Walsh does it better:

He says:
Happy? Your kids won’t make you happy. The only thing your kids will make you, turn you into, and force you to be (at least biologically speaking) is a parent. Happy is your responsibility.
Love! Truth!


FOUR:

Another gooder I read this week on what we tell our kids about Santa.  I didn't think about this too much last year, with Patrick not being exposed to Santa too much, and Carter being only 1.  But this year, oh the debate! I liked this article though. It closely aligns with my perspective - though I don't think that parents who choose not to pretend that Santa comes to their home on Christmas Eve are, as the article says "stripping the fun," from the lives of their kids.

I've really enjoyed people's thoughts on this "issue", so if you want to throw yours my way, I'd love to know!

FIVE:

I love that Jen talked a lot about weather this week. It has been the bane my my existence for the entirety of this pregnancy.  I'm a Spring/Autumn person through and through. Which translates to loving temperatures between 15 and 20 C.  I'm also an extra-warm pregnant person, so through the summer, with temperatures above 20, I was feeling more like 30 and d-y-i-n-g. Throw any humidity at me and I'm very unhappy. People who don't live in my part of Canada are like "You're ridiculous." But I know that.

Right now, it's -20 and my house is sitting at a comfortable-for-me 18. My family is frozen unless they wear slippers and sweaters all the time.  Bonus of winter pregnancy I guess: I'm always warm enough.

SIX:

Patrick and Carter at Joseph's aunt's place.


Speaking of winter though, it has us cooped up inside a lot. There has been no back-yard time (translate: coffee and crossword time for mom) for the boys, since October. Why? My kids are wimpy when it comes to cold. I can bundle them up to go out, but it lasts an infuriatingly short amount of time. It is just not worth taking 10 minutes to get them fully dressed for the cold when the yield is only 10 minutes to myself before they get, as Carter says, "Doo. Much. Winter!"

SEVEN:

I finished the Harry Potter series last night.  I read the last book in 3 days as you could probably tell from the state of my house. And now I have the same feeling I did when I finished The Lord of the Rings - an emptiness that stems from the knowledge that there is no more after this.

When I read good fiction I find myself incredibly attached to the characters within. I miss them when their stories end.  I liked the ending of the Potter books a lot - so no dissatisfaction there, but now what?  Will there be another series that I like as much? I hate when I don't have a book to read - and lately I've been diving into the fantasy realm. Any suggestions along those lines?