When I was pregnant the first time, I was fixated on my due date. I knew the date within the first few weeks of pregnancy and thought about it every day. I told everyone I knew, posted it online, practically circled it on my calendar in thick red sharpie: THIS IS THE DAY I WILL MEET MY BABY.
Maybe that’s why when the date came and went without any labor-like action, I was really emotional. I had a few anxiety-inducing thoughts about going past my due date:
- My husband and I were both big babies at birth. I was seriously worried about growing a mini-giant and having a tough time getting him out. (Need some encouragement about expecting a big baby? He ended up being 9 lbs 4 oz and everything went smoothly!)
- I was planning to deliver at a birth center with a midwife. I really did not want to have to transfer care and was afraid of risks popping up or never going into labor on my own. (ACOG says you’re not overdue until after 42 weeks. I had plenty of time!)
- My baby was due in mid December and I really did not want him to share a birthday with Christmas. (Really, what could I even do about this other than vow to always make his birthdays special?)
- I had focused a lot on preparing my body through nourishing it well and exercising; I had prepared my mind by practicing relaxation, reading good books/birth stories and talking with my husband every day about our goals for the birth. I was afraid of losing steam. It was like if you’re getting ready for a marathon that gets rained out and the day of the race is permanently TBD. Talk about a mind game!
The day I was due was a Sunday, so we went to church services. Several friends who knew I was due stopped by our pew to offer a joke about why our baby wasn’t here yet, how big I was getting or to ask when I would be induced. Maybe it was hormones or just feeling overwhelmed by all the things mentioned above, but I fought back tears through each encounter.
When we got home, I told my husband I didn’t want to leave the house again until I was in labor. Ha! It was kind of an exaggerated response, but I just did not need another reminder that I was still pregnant — I was well aware! There are actually a lot of reasons a baby may not be born on their EDD and, though I didn’t know it at the time, I would only have to wait for 4 more days for him to be ready. My son was born at the birth center, after an incredibly powerful, exhausting, life-changing labor and shares a birthday with my brother, which I actually think is special.
So, when I became pregnant the second time, I made an unpopular decision: I asked my midwife to not tell me my due date.
Yes, I knew a time frame. I knew about how many weeks I was based on the tests we did at prenatal appointments or how often I was seeing my midwife, but I did not have a date circled on the calendar. I really didn’t even think about it very often.
When people asked my due date, I could honestly say, “I’m not sure! Baby should be here some time between Thanksgiving and New years.” It was liberating and in the days before the birth, I was happy and distracted. My baby ended up being born 5-8 days early (there were a couple of possible dates) and I was just so surprised to “already” be going into labor.
Even if you’d like to know your due date, consider not telling anyone or at least keeping the information a little more private — you may feel a little less like a watched pot while you’re playing the waiting game.
But if you do go past your due date, try not to worry. Check out these tips for staying sane and try to enjoy the last few days of pregnancy — you are not the only mother who has had to endure this lesson in patience.