Monday, September 1, 2014

Ten things NOT to say to a woman within a week of her due date

First, I want to issue a blanket public apology for every time I have violated these myself to fellow preggers.  I didn't know what it was like.  I didn't make it past 37 weeks with my first kiddo, so I had no idea the anxious thoughts and physical discomfort that come in the last week or two of pregnancy.

Now that I'm here at 39 weeks 2 days, in a pretty fragile emotional state with no signs of active labor coming anytime soon, I want to share a few things that generally make me cringe inside when I hear them... for the benefit of all people who want to love their pregnant friends (and strangers) with their words.

[unless you're on her birth team
or in the inner circle of friends and family]

1. When do you think it will happen?
Trying to guess this makes a woman crazy.  She has no idea and no control, don't rub it in.

2. You must be soooo ready. 
Yes, Captain Obvious, she literally feels like she might burst.   Her body is done and ready.  Also, for me at least, this one is just a reminder of all the ways that I'm actually not ready.  Can you ever be fully "ready" for what's coming with birth and a baby?  Is the to-do list ever done?  Can you truly prepare for the unknown?

3. Have you been having any contractions? 
Chances are she has, and she's frustrated that none of them have led to "go time" yet.  She probably doesn't want to give anyone besides her birth team a play-by-play report of her uterus' practice rounds.

4. Have they checked you to see if you're dilated? 
If she has, it was probably not a great experience, and the information obtained really doesn't do anything except mess with her mind.  If she's like me and hasn't been checked, it's just a reminder of another unknown.

5. Has your doctor said when he's going to induce you?
I think all women would prefer to go into spontaneous labor on their own versus being induced.  Even if she doesn't mind being induced, the idea of going so long that the birth team felt they had no other option than to intervene with artificial methods does not make her feel good.  She does not want to focus on induction when spontaneous labor is still a very good possibility.  Let's not assume that all women are going to have to be medically induced if they stay pregnant "too long".

6. Have you tried [fill in the remedy that supposedly makes you go into labor]?
She's probably heard of it, and maybe tried it, and if she's still pregnant, it didn't work.

7. You know, the longer they stay in there, the better. 
This sure doesn't make her feel any better about the waiting, especially if she's already full term.  By this point, she knows without a doubt that baby is fully developed and has no medical reason to stay in there any longer, so this statement (which is debatable anyway) ain't no silver lining.

8. Are you super scared?
This one usually comes from people who have never had a baby, innocently just trying to make conversation or seem sympathetic.  Please let's not to bring attention to the anxiety she might be feeling.

9. You look exhausted.
Boo.  She probably feels like a whale.  And isn't sleeping well.  And has to pee ALL the time.  And has a hard time going up the stairs and getting in and out of the hot car.   And her back hurts, and probably her pelvis and her feet.  Of course she's exhausted.

10. Anything about your own pregnancy, labor, or delivery. 
Hearing other women constantly talk about their own experiences (especially the one-uppers) can be touchy for some preggos all throughout pregnancy.  I personally don't mind it that much earlier on, but right now during this last little bit I simply don't want to hear any of it.

A few things you could say to her instead:
1. You look fantastic.
2. I'm so excited for you.
3. Can I bake you something?

One last thought: it's OK to talk about you.   She is thinking about her bun in the oven pretty much all the time when she's alone, it's nice to give her brain a little break to think about what is going on with her friend/sister/mom/aunt/cousin/neighbor.  So don't hold back, she's still her.

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  1. You look fantastic, and I'm so excited for you! :-)

    Great post- I can see how absolutely infuriating many of these comments would be. It just baffles me the things people say to pregnant women. Everyone should read this! Thinking good thoughts for you in this final stretch!

  2. Dang it...Guilty of #7 as of this morning, I think... Sorry Julie. YOU DO LOOK GREAT! Loved that dress that your friend made for you. Penny will be an awesome big sister! Enjoy these last moments of a family of 3. xoxo-Emily

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