Forty weeks feels like a long time to be pregnant – and every day after that 40 week mark feels like an extra week. Estimated due dates are just that – estimates – but that doesn't stop pregnant women secretly hoping that their baby will be one of the very few to actually arrive on the guess date (a mere 3-5% babies are born on their calculated date). Angering a pregnant woman is never a good idea, but enraging a woman who has gone past the 40 weeks of pregnancy she signed up for, is particularly risky.
Waiting is never easy, especially when you're surrounded by (“well-meaning”) people hell bent on asking irritating questions. Remember, it doesn't take much to tip a heavily pregnant woman over the edge (metaphorically of course… because physically, it would actually be quite hard work to tip a pregnant woman over). If you value your life, here are 10 things you should never say to a woman who is still pregnant after her ‘guess’ date:
#1: “Have You Got Any News?!”
Oh great, another ‘have you got any news?' message. I've only had fifteen of them since I last went to the bathroom EIGHT MINUTES AGO. Please can everyone stop asking me if there's any news. No news is no news. Just assume, indefinitely, that there is no news. I. Will. Let. You. Know. If. There. Is. News.
#2: “Oh, Still No Baby Then?”
Huh? Of course there's a baby. Here he is, I dressed him as a humongous pregnancy bump. Isn't he adorable? He never cries, sleeps through the night and hasn't produced a single icky nappy yet. Want to hold him?
#3: “OMG! You're STILL Pregnant?!”
One. Two. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven. Eight. Nine. Ten. Sorry, I read somewhere that counting to 10 could prevent anger escalating into violence. Now I'm not so sure.
#4: “You've Just Made Too Good A Home In There!”
It's rubbish in there, believe me, I know. It's full of impossible to contain flatulence, heartburn, a spasming back, hip, leg, knee or anything else holds the rest of me up, and seemingly never ending mood swings dotted with outbursts of tears. It's the worst home ever. You know where's a great home? The one I spent weeks deliberating over colour schemes for then spent days painting. The home with the baby blanket I knitted myself over eight long, long, long months. So don't give me any of that nonsense about my uterus being a good home. It's not, it's full of placenta. Her nursery is full of pastels, chevrons and bunnies, and she better come out NOW to see it.
#5: “How Pregnant Can A Woman Actually Get?”
I think you've just broken the world record for the most insensitive question ever. Oh, and way more pregnant than this, since you asked. Like, way more pregnant, but not much more offended.
#6: “Have You Tried…[insert 1001 methods here]?”
Eating spicy curry? Going for a walk? Eating 17 pineapples? Having sex whilst riding a horse down a really bumpy road? Coating myself from head to toe in castor oil, drinking raspberry leaf tea and eating vindaloo, before spending an hour on the trampoline whilst screaming “Today is your birthday!” at the top of my lungs?
Yes, yes I have. It didn't work.
#7: “That Baby Will Come When She's Ready!”
Yes, she'll come when she's ready. Yes, that might be way later than the date at which I am ready. Yes, I may have a shorter tolerance level for stupid questions at that point. And yes, you should probably walk away from the conversation now.
#8: “Have You Had Any Twinges?”
Yep. I had a twinge but it turned out to be a bad curry, so I spent the day running to the toilet. Then I had another twinge that turned out to be Braxton Hicks contractions, so I cried in frustration in the bath. Thanks so much for giving me an excuse to overshare the private details of my pregnancy with you.
Oh, I forgot to mention one: I had a twinge that turned out to be uncontrollable rage brought on by too many ridiculous questions…
#9: “Wow, It Feels Like You've Been Pregnant Forever!”
I'm so sorry that the length of my pregnancy is too much for you. It must be so hard knowing that someone else has been pregnant for over the acceptable pregnancy duration of 40 weeks. It must be so hard for you. The sleepless nights, the aches, the waiting. I really don't know how you're managing to get through it. You're an inspiration.
#10: “You Poor Thing, When Are They Inducing You?”
Awwwwwww. Thanks for your sympathy as to my ‘suffering’, but I was rather hoping for your encouragement, especially when I am so close the the finish line. I know it’s probably not obvious from the outside, but I am actually working really hard to have the best birth possible, with the least interventions. I’m curious: do you think you’ll be free to help out around the house for a while after I give birth? Because if I get induced, it’s more likely I will need your help with the cooking, cleaning, ironing and toilet scrubbing as I recover. See, inductions increase the risks on what could be a perfectly normal birth – an induced birth becomes a high risk birth. After my 9 months of intensive reading and research about what’s best for my baby, I have learnt that inductions make it more likely to need further interventions, including caesarean sections (even moreso if I am a first time mother), as the baby can become distressed. So, how about it, are you free?