For some bonkers reason, pregnant women are given a due date of 40 weeks after the first day of their last period, even though the average day of arrival for first and second babies hovers around week 41. So, odds are that if you know a pregnant lady, it’s likely she’ll go past her due date. And odds are, if her due date is looming, and you happen to like her, you’re going to wonder what’s going on. You’ll want to text or call her to see how things are going.
It’s quite likely that without meaning to, you’ll say something that makes her feel like this:
Never fear, dear readers. Now you can be spared from making this easy mistake. I have two friends who just had their first baby (2 weeks past their due date, surprise!) and they came up with this easy way to determine if your comment to the very pregnant woman is worth putting out there.
It is very simple.
This is it:
Your comment should end in a period, not a question mark.
YES: “We’re thinking about you so much and are here if you need us.”
NO: “Do you need anything?”
YES: “I’m so excited to meet the baby.”
NO: (And this is quite possibly the biggest no of all.) “Baby yet?” or “Any baby?” or any question remotely like this.
Quite simply, waiting to go into labor can be ridiculously unnerving, and while it’s lovely to know that the people you love are thinking about you, it sucks to feel required to talk to them or to answer stupid questions. If you convey your support and curiosity in a statement, then your pregnant lady has the choice of whether or not to get back to you.
So keep those comments confined with periods, people. That way, you can rest easy knowing that you didn’t annoy the crap out of her and that she knows you’re one of the supportive and thoughtful ones.
I started interviewing new moms for my “Becoming a Mother” video series back in December. Getting to know them and editing the footage of our conversations (albeit slowly! I’m aiming to post another video soon, of T and her baby at 3 and 7 weeks postpartum) has reminded me of the joy and power of sharing our stories. It connects us to each other and reminds us we’re not alone. And I can think of no better way to steward new families than to share the specific taste and texture of the joys and sorrows of this experience. In that vein, I asked a writer that I met through the kick ass Get Born community if she would write some guest posts on my blog about her experience of becoming a mother the second time. And she said yes! So allow me to introduce you to the unflinching writing of Lesley L. McKinley. She’s 17 (ish) weeks pregnant right now. And we get to hear what she’s thinking and feeling about this baby #2 business every month! Thank you, Lesley.
I can’t get a read on this baby at all. Who the hell is this kid? I mean, with my first, her whole identity was mapped before the end of my first trimester. Her name, our secret codes, handshakes, and a seed of feminism so deeply imbedded in her soul that it would sprout a giant, magical beanstalk and she would be able to climb as high as she liked. She would be my daughter, a reflection of all that I have come to learn about this twisted world. She would see the beauty, yes, but she’d be wise and wary, too. Then, just when I was about to pick out her clothes (not pink ruffled crap but onesies with Rosie the Riveter) they told me my future daughter was actually my future son. It nearly stopped my heart. So invested was I in this fantasyland, that I actually wept as if I was grieving her loss.
Now, I have my son here with me in the flesh. He’s mercurial. He’s whip smart. He’s dirty constantly. He’s sweet. He’s my marauder. He would ride the dog to Tijuana if left unsupervised. He’s my boy.
And I only know boys. And I want another. But if I invest in another fantasy, I will miss out on the mystery of imaging both sides. And in the end, let’s be honest. I’ve already been to this show. Pregnancy is now more of an inconvenience getting in the way of caring for my two year old. I puked like a drunken sailor for six weeks, as just one example. It’s not a “magical” time for me right now. It’s exhausting. I feel fat, not radiant. I want to eat everything that was ever made and just completely give in to my gluttonous desires, and use this baby as the excuse. Sometimes I forget about the baby altogether.
For now, I have bigger things to worry about. Like the fact that my marauder can open doors…to the outside world. He ran out the other day and streaked past the mail lady and our landlord coming up the walk. Lucky for us both the front and back yards are fully fenced. I’m attempting to work again, for money, not shells. And I am beginning to think a social life might once again be possible, as the crushing isolation of motherhood has driven me to the eccentric and beyond.
Perhaps when I can feel this baby moving, rearranging my innards, and the heartburn kicks in, I’ll be better able to decide if this baby is Country or Rock n Roll. Right now this baby just is.
So this time around, I am not going to fall in love with an idea. Like I did so many times with crappy college boyfriends. This time, I want to fall in love. Full stop. Not with this whole pregnancy which I find to be a ginormous bummer, but with this kid, this being, this person. And frankly, I am happy to wait until I have this babe in my arms.
Lesley L. McKinley is a singer/songwriter and freelance writer who dreams of changing the world. Raised by wolves and pirates, her irreverent approach to most everything gets her in a lot of trouble, but she wouldn’t trade her battle scars or her sarcasm for all the trophies in the world. A mother, a wife, an artist, and a champion of the underdog, she can often be found outside, barefoot and muddy with her marauding toddler, hatching plots and running wild. She is currently crafting songs for a new album and thinking of ways to meet your pirate needs. Her website is being created as we speak. She also writes on the 10th of every month for get born, an online magazine. Find her there at www.getborn.com. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.