Another Truism about Women and Pregnancy

 

You fell victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is, “Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant” — but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never ask a woman at the end of her pregnancy if she’s had that baby yet”!

My due date was on Friday. Last Friday. I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday with two of my kids and I barely made it out alive. I could barely push the cart; the physical exertion of walking around the minature supermarket was exhausting. My hips, which by virtue of nature, are getting loose enough to allow a watermelon to pass through, are clicking like I’m an 80-year old in need of a hip replacement. And that watermelon is attached to my front every waking moment, weighing me down like a ton of bricks. I haven’t slept more than an hour at a stretch in weeks, if not months, thanks to a baby playing tambourine on my bladder. I sleep with multiple medications next to me: two for heartburn in hopes that I don’t wake up vomiting stomach acid, and a Tylenol for when the hip pain becomes too strong to sleep.

I am, in short, miserable. Is that coming across?

While I’m not looking forward to the magic of labor, I’m looking forward more to getting my body back. I would like this child to vacate my womb at its earliest convenience. Preferably several weeks ago, but if a time machine cannot be finagled, immediately and without delay.

Which is what makes every text, message, call etc I’ve received over the last few weeks make me want to rip my hair out:

“Have you had that baby yet?”

“Are you in labor?”

“When do you think it will be born? Any signs?” (Do you really want me to give you a graphic update on my cervix?)

“Did you have that baby yet?”

“Why haven’t you had the baby?!”

That last one always kills me; it’s like telling someone with a stomach virus to just stop vomiting already. Oh, I didn’t realize this was something I could control!

They always say, “Never ask a woman if she’s pregnant.” The truism has been meme’ified into oblivion. Every woman has a story about a grocery clerk or relative asking when they’re due. But let’s add another one to the pot: Don’t ask a pregnant woman at the end of her pregnancy intrusive and annoying questions about when she’s going to go into labor.

Please, I beg you. I promise I’ll eventually let you know when it’s born.

And next time (if there is a next time, this is, after all, baby number five for us), I’m not telling anyone I’m pregnant until we have a baby announcement with the date, time and weight printed.

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There are 14 comments.

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  1. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    I find it hard to believe people would ask.  What are they thinking, you’re going to have the baby and not tell anybody?

    The only exception would be a mother who tells her daughter, “Have the baby already!”

    • #1
  2. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    I don’t know the trials of pregnancy, but I can sure identify with wanting to get one’s body back, Bethany! Be well!

    • #2
  3. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    My daughter-in-law is due soon. I’m sure she get’s tired of me asking ‘how are you feeling?’ I have not, and would not ask, have you had the baby yet but then, I think, I’m in the loop to find out right away! They had their last one at home (unplanned) while you have had the joys of giving birth in a car. Might this make a difference in people asking whether the baby is born? Probably not. Best wishes on getting to the finish line.

    • #3
  4. Bethany Mandel Editor
    Bethany Mandel
    @bethanymandel

    colleenb (View Comment):

    My daughter-in-law is due soon. I’m sure she get’s tired of me asking ‘how are you feeling?’ I have not, and would not ask, have you had the baby yet but then, I think, I’m in the loop to find out right away! They had their last one at home (unplanned) while you have had the joys of giving birth in a car. Might this make a difference in people asking whether the baby is born? Probably not. Best wishes on getting to the finish line.

    I don’t mind the “how are you feeling” question because it’s not just about the baby and labor. It’s a genuine inquiry into how I’m doing and I appreciate it, honestly. Also, it’s different with actual grandparents. 

    • #4
  5. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    By #7, Mrs. iWe was looking forward to labor. It was less work than carrying the baby around any more. Less uncomfortable, too.

    • #5
  6. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Bethany Mandel: You fell victim to one of the classic blunders — the most famous of which is,

    I love the Princess Bride reference!

    • #6
  7. Lilly B Coolidge
    Lilly B
    @LillyB

    I can’t believe you have the energy or presence of mind to write at this point! I felt like I was losing my mind when my daughter hadn’t yet arrived on her due date.   Best wishes for a safe delivery and healthy, happy baby!

    • #7
  8. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Our first four children were all born within a day or two of their “due” dates. In fact, #1 was born ON his due date…a very considerate young man–he has remained this type of person his whole life.  But…#5.  We passed the due date. We went another week. Then, another week. And finally, almost to end of week three, he was born. I, too, was one of those mothers who looks like I should be due when I’m really only 7 months into the gestation. 

    We’d been showing up for soccer practice, then the games,  since August (the birthday is Nov. 17) and all the coaches and families expected (I’m sure) that I would come with a new baby any day. But, no…I staggered out to the sidelines for weeks. And the fact that we also had the four other children was attention-grabbing enough–let alone that a woman’s body could actually stretch as far as mine does without a rupture. 

    When we missed the game on the Saturday he was (finally) born, we called the coach in the afternoon to let him know why we weren’t there. His reply, “Oh wonderful news!  We were all hoping that’s why you were absent!” 

    @Bethany Mandel: Do you get looks and comments when you’re out-and-about town with your “large” family? We did and this was in the 70s & 80s.  (And they were mostly NOT compliments…)

     

    • #8
  9. GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms Reagan
    GLDIII Purveyor of Splendid Malpropisms
    @GLDIII

    Given your track record, I expect I would hear it on the news when the northern end of the DC Beltway gets clog up with a roadside birth in progress, and you should find another route alert on the GPS….

    • #9
  10. iWe Coolidge
    iWe
    @iWe

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    @Bethany Mandel: Do you get looks and comments when you’re out-and-about town with your “large” family? We did and this was in the 70s & 80s.  (And they were mostly NOT compliments…)

     

    We have heard:

    “You are only 7 months? Oh, I would never put on so much weight!”

    “It feels like it has been 20 months? You know, snakes carry that long.”

    “You DO know how babies are made, right?”

    “How irresponsible!”

    I love it when people ask if they are all mine. One that works (but I have never figured out why) is, “But they are all from my first wife.”

    My favorite response is: “Oh, no! I work for a condom company and these are customer returns.”

    • #10
  11. Podkayne of Israel Member
    Podkayne of Israel
    @PodkayneofIsrael

    One of my daughters is due in about 2 weeks too.  Baby #1, Mom’s an overachieving, super-confident control freak. And they recently completed an 11-day Vipassana meditation retreat. 

    • #11
  12. danys Thatcher
    danys
    @danys

    Bethany, You’re in my prayers. The last weeks of pregnancy are just uncomfortable. The acid reflux is just insulting; like we really need more discomfort. 

    • #12
  13. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I sympathize. My firstborn was three weeks later than the obstetrician and I had predicted. I finally shut my phone off. :-)

     

    • #13
  14. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    It took a huge 7.4 earthquake to shake me loose, in 1949.  I was two weeks late, my mother was in downtown Seattle shopping when the big earthquake hit.  Three days later, I finally arrived.  Best wishes to you with Number Five.

    • #14
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