Today is the day. We’re together for about 40 weeks now. When we saw you for the first time you were just a tiny rice corn floating around in my fist-sized uterus. Now about 280 days later nobody really knows how big you are – even though there are midwives bets on the table for a (definitely) tall 3.8kg to 4kg boy. We can’t wait to find out and to be honest we thought we knew by now. That’s the whole dilemma with the due date. As soon as you know it, it becomes this deadline you kind of work towards to. Of course we – I should probably just talk about me – so of course I played it cool and “hypnobirthing-like” (“my baby comes when my baby is ready”) but I have to admit it became harder to keep the cool face and calm mind over the last week.
The asking for updates increased (you know “have you had your baby yet?”), proper back pain makes its appearance on a regular basis, my feet and legs started to inflate like a bouncing castle, I have to
sit lay down after an hour (on good days) of standing or walking around, bad days with weird feelings I can’t control nor grasp or sometimes handle alternate with energy boosted days where I feel like I can see a glimpse of myself again, I’m out of breath by just getting out of bed. All of these things and more turn the due date into a deadline. Something that will and need to be accomplished by then. Done.
In Germany only 4% of the babies are born on the actual due date. Around 21% before and 75% after (note: statistics slightly differ). Knowing this made a difference for us. It’s all just an estimation and in my case a broad one: my period was so irregular – same goes for my ovulation – and we have no idea when the conception actually happened, so this means nothing. Same goes for treating every woman and her child the same way because they always count 40 weeks. Every woman, every body and every kid is different. The baby doesn’t know that the allegedly 40 weeks are “up”. I get that this is tight to medical and also financial reasons but I don’t get why they just can’t tell you the birthing period instead? Telling you from date x up to five weeks you and your baby have time to have a natural (full-term) birth. You can still have the check-ups you need, e.g. after three weeks they’re going to check if you still have enough amniotic fluid and if your placenta is still working overtime etc.), your baby won’t be “past” anything because if it comes in the 4th week of that period it’s just that. Her or his birthday. Nobody is late because NOBODY IS LATE. There is no specific date in between that drives you crazy… just a healthy period of five weeks where you can get ready to meet the newest member of your family.
At least this helps me. It’s also a common “practice” in Hypnobirthing: instead of saying till date x you say from date x (my baby is coming when my baby is ready) because most of the babies are born after. It seems like such a small semantic thing but words can really make the difference (for you mind). Or again at least they do for me.
Ok ok, even with the period thinking you still have a window of five weeks and impatience can still creep up on you at any point. That is what I’m experiencing right now even though I keep saying to myself from now on he will come when he is ready.
Especially with the daily little aches and pains and the increasing weight gain it can be hard to stay positive. Sometimes I feel like I can literally see my belly expand millimetre by millimetre. So I actively started to appreciate my body even more – again in a verbal way. I probably sound like a crazy person but telling myself how amazed I am by what my body (and my baby) is accomplishing every single day gives me back that positive feeling. And the best thing is: it’s so true! Can I just say: how amazing is our body? An organ like the uterus can grow from being the size of a fist to 500 times its size. And after the job is done shrink down again. WHAT! And the placenta: a miraculous organ that gives every human being the best start in this world and that is OUTSIDE of your body. And the simple fact that your body just knows what to do. It does everything to make sure this little thing inside you gets everything it needs. It such an intelligent and efficient system. Crazy and already empowering.
I guess that is the bottom line of this thought piece: empower yourself with everything that you have instead of letting others and numbers drive you crazy or even worse make you feel pressured to achieve something that is not achievable because having a baby is not a project with a deadline.
And if you’re still going crazy because we’re humans with feelings and the above doesn’t help this time, treat yourself! Read the book on your bedside table you wanted to finish six months ago, have a massage or even better: ask your partner to do it. Just do the things you want to do. If you just want to lay down and binge watch a series – do it! If you want to see people but feel anxious about leaving your home – just invite them! If you feel sad and don’t know why – let it happen and know it’s alright! If you have a sudden urge to clean your windows – do it! Have a bath, eat chocolate, stroke your belly, talk to your baby, don’t talk at all, repack the birthing centre bag for the third time, take photos of your beautiful body, ask for hugs, take your moments for self-pity and then eat some more chocolate, tell people
to fuck off that it annoys you when they ask if you had your baby yet – the same goes for comments about your body, have sex and be amazed how creative you can get, have an afternoon nap or two. You get the idea.
Empower yourself and do literally everything else but counting 💛*
*I’ll let you know how I’m doing in a week’s time 😉