Allen Cooper’s baby news this week (she’s had a second daughter, named Marnie, to join 14 month old Ethel) sparked a memory I’ve buried away about the pregnancy due date calendar. Namely, my pregnancy due date calendar. (NOTE: I am NOT pregnant. I mean the pregnancy I went through with Frog 3 years ago.)
Frog – bless her little wonky cotton socks – was born 12 days after her due date. At the time, this felt like the longest 12 days of my life.
As a newly confirmed pregnant woman, I couldn’t wait to hit every pregnancy due date calculator going, trying to work out exactly when my bundle would arrive. In my early nausea-filled pregnancy haze, I imagined I would be given some kind of appointment card, complete with estimated arrival time (to the second) of the bump.
I wouldn’t entertain the thought my baby would be “late” (in some countries you are given a “due month” so you’re only considered to be past your due date once your due month passes). I laughed as my mother-in-law told me stories of walking around the streets ten days past her due date, trying to walk her baby out of her. That’s not going to happen to me! I thought.
And then the big day arrived. I’d already spent the previous two weeks walking miles every day in the sweltering heat, watching my formerly perfect ankles swell to a size bigger than my thighs. I was fed up and bored. I am not the world’s most patient person. This did not bode well, for I was to wait another two weeks.
My baby girl eventually arrived two days before an induction was booked at the hospital. In many ways the fairly straightforward labour made up for the fact I’d spent so long hobbling about with the sensation of a melon between my legs. I was in active labour for a relatively short time and there were no scary bits (apart from the obvious IT HURTS! moments).
Looking back, I wish I’d been more relaxed about my pregnancy due date. Rather than see it as a definite end point in the pregnancy, I should have marked it on the calender, marking the days around it too. If I’d have had a “due week” I may have stopped counting each hour past the exact moment my baby was meant to be due and enjoyed the last phase of time to myself.
And I wish I hadn’t told a single soul when my due date was. I lost count of the number of times I had to field an “any sign?” text message or quip to “go and eat a hot curry!” These things did not help a grumpy hippo on a five mile mission to hurry along her stubborn unborn child.
So if I go through all this a second time around, I’m making it known now: my due date will remain secret, I will take it with a vigorous pinch of salt and anyone who tells me to “eat a hot curry” will be sharply reprimanded.
What would you tell your newly pregnant self if you could go back in time?
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