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.

1 comment:

  1. AWESOME! I have said 2, 7, 9 but in all honesty number 7 was because I said NOT to use castor oil and inserted horrible story of mine of using castor oil.

    Michelle Wilson


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