No, the baby is NOT here yet!
A good friend of mine was due last week. I saw her name on our class roster a couple of days ago, so unless she went into labor since then, which is, of course, entirely possible, she is still pregnant. But I would never dare text or call to ask that question, even though I’m dying to know!
If I had a nickel for every time one of my full-term students complained that friends and family keep calling to ask if she’s had the baby, I’d be a rich lady! What do these well-meaning people think? “Oh, Mom, so great to hear from you! Yes, I DID have the baby- last week! Guess I’ve been too busy to mention it. Congratulations, you’re a Grandma!” If you’re a little snarky like me, feel free to try that out on your mom or BFF. After awhile it gets so tiring saying, “nope, not yet…” again.
That is one reason I recommend that mamas report their due date as being “the middle of September” or “around the holidays.” (The other reason is to not get so attached to that due date, as only 4-5% of babies actually come that day.) Or better yet, report it as two weeks or so past what it actually is to avoid those annoying phone calls and texts.
By the time the due date rolls around, very few moms are content with being pregnant. Whether they are physically uncomfortable or just excited to meet their babies, they’re ready to send that little bundle of joy an eviction notice. They may also be dealing with unwanted pressure from their doctor to induce (solely based on dates, without medical indication- see Evidence Based Birth for understanding why induction based on due date is not generally in mom’s or baby’s best interest). The last thing they want is another person reminding them they are still pregnant. Believe me, they are fully aware that due date has come and gone!
In defense of the people who do badger the parents-to-be, they’re just excited about becoming a grandpa or an auntie. It’s hard to blame them when they just want to love on this new little person (and hopefully his parents, too). If you are one of these well-intentioned family members, I offer you a better way to build connection with the new parents, as I did with my friend who is a week past her due date: send a text that simply says, “I’m thinking of you.” Those last days of pregnancy and the first few days postpartum are a vulnerable time. It’s so important to feel love and support, rather than pressure or just plain irritation from yet another “still pregnant!?”
If you are a parent anxiously waiting for labor and are tired of being asked if you’ve had the baby yet, a gentle reminder you are allowed to set boundaries. Don’t answer your phone. Send an email to family and friends asking them to kindly give you space as you await the birth and let them know they won’t be left out of the announcement. Send them this blog post! You have the right to have whatever you need (or don’t need) to feel comfortable.
And to my dear friend who is due, I’m sending you positive labor vibes! You’re on my mind, hon! I patiently await your big news whenever you feel ready to share. ;-)