As I sit here, 3 days shy of the due date of my third child, I have had time to reflect on all that really annoys me about this last stage of pregnancy. Chief among them is the stupid things people say. Yes, some of you people are people I love, but I’m allowed to be grouchy. Someone is literally sitting on my last nerve causing my right leg to be numb most of the time. There are lots of things you don’t say to pregnant women like “Hey, you’re not really eating for two!” or “You look tired,” but nothing rankles more than when in the last days of pregnancy people seem to lose their sensitivity controls. The following are things I’ve heard in the last week that make me want to high five someone… in the face.
7. “Enjoy this time. You’re going to miss it.”
I did enjoy this pregnancy and that ended about one month ago. The belly was fun, the cute maternity shirts were fun (back when they fit me). I enjoyed walking back then, I sort of remember what that was like to get out and stroll about without pain and constant fear of a jab to the cervix at an inopportune time that almost sends me to my knees weeping. But at about 8 months along all of that became a distant memory. There’s absolutely nothing I’m going to miss about being 40 weeks pregnant. Every fetal movement is painful and most of the time it’s excruciating; strangers look at me with their finger on the 911 button because I’ve just cried out in public and grabbed my extended belly and they think I’m in labor. Nope, not labor, just a future martial-arts expert kicking the crap out of my spleen.
But thanks for the concern.
I’m not going to miss having to pull myself into the car in three deliberate maneuvers trying not to aggravate the round ligament pain flare-ups. (If you don’t know what that is, just thank God and move on.) I will not miss the searing heartburn and acid reflux that no amount of antacid will quench and that wake me up literally gagging for air every hour every night. I will not miss the constant trips to the bathroom only to find out there’s nothing in my bladder, just someone on it. I will not miss dropping things I care about on the ground and leaving them there to avoid having to bend over to fetch them. Goodbye iPhone. That’s what insurance is for. I will not miss crying for no reason while chopping vegetables and having to explain to my children why Mommy is sobbing. “I DON’T KNOW, OK?? You people cry whenever you want, why can’t I?”
Please stop telling me I am going to miss this time. It makes me want to throw things at your head.
6. “I was three weeks overdue.”
A woman in her 40th week of pregnancy does not want to hear your story of being horrifically overdue. Period. Stop doing this. What we want to hear is, “You are going to have that baby any minute!” because that’s the only thought that gets us through another day of no baby. Please try to remember how you felt to be that overdue and how miserable you were. Did you want to hear that your end wasn’t even close to being in sight? I didn’t think so. Neither do the rest of us. Lie to us. Tell us you had that baby 3 days early and it was a walk in the park. LIE. That’s what we need to hear. LIES that will make us feel better. It’s completely okay to lie to a full-term pregnant woman. I think that’s in the Bible. We will totally believe you. Here are some good ones:
“Labor doesn’t hurt at all. It’s just like pressure!”
“You’ll be up and about in no time! I bet you’ll be back to jogging in a week!”
“That baby weight will fall right off if you nurse!”
“I lost 20 lbs in two days. It’s all water.”
These are the kinds of things we love to hear. More of this please.
5. “Should you be lifting/doing that?”
Oh for crying out loud, stop telling me not to lift stuff. I have to lift stuff. I’m a mom! I lift stuff all day long! And at this point if lifting something heavy sends me into labor…that’s a win! Maybe I should go to the gym and lift weights! If that’s all it took to get this baby out, I’d do it! Carrying a chair across the room is not going to hurt me. Anything a full-term preggo is doing is perfectly fine. If she’s doing it, she wants to be doing it and she’s capable of doing it and trust me she’s not doing it if she doesn’t want to. I have a friend who was still jogging at 9 months pregnant. She’s clearly out of her mind. But don’t tell her that!
4. “Did you swallow a watermelon?”
The jokes were funny at 7 months. At 9 and counting… not funny anymore. We now have bellies that are so fully extended the skin is burning at about an 8 on the pain scale, all the time. No amount of coconut oil or cocoa butter or any slathering of anything helps. Everything hurts. Nothing fits. And no one goes out to buy something that fits when the baby is coming at any moment. Yes, I’ve been in the same muumuu for a week and half — do you have a problem with that? I sewed two sheets together because nothing else was big enough. You’re lucky I put on clothes at all because anything that touches my belly makes me want to scream in agony.
So no, I don’t find the jokes about the size of this thing that is burning and hurting funny. It’s not funny. It’s a burden and it’s hard work just to get through a day without falling over. I can’t see my feet or shave my legs or reach anything that’s not at least 4 feet off the floor. But I would like some watermelon. Do we have any?
3. “I think your doctor has the date wrong. You don’t look ready. They’re off by a month.”
Okay, are you trying to send me to the vodka? Seriously, someone said this to me this week. I screamed at her something about blasphemy, shoved her out of my house and then threw myself on the floor sobbing. Well, maybe not exactly like that, but it was close. This is just beyond the pale, people. A person cannot be a whole month off their due date. It’s impossible, but pregnant people believe you when you say crazy things because we are technically crazy when pregnant. It’s the hormones. They make us nuts. Certifiable. Looney Tunes. Then we go crying to our doctors that you said we were going to be pregnant for another month and the doctor has to calm us down and whisper reassuring things so we don’t destroy their office with a category 5 tantrum.
Again, LIE! This is not the moment to tell us what you’re really thinking. Oh no. This is the time to lie your head off and say things like, “I had a dream that you are having this baby tonight!”
2. “It’s not that bad.”
Usually it’s men who say this. Stupid, stupid men with death wishes. In my case it’s my dad. He thinks it’s funny to say that when I’m near tears because my cervix is being headbutted by his grandchild. This is never acceptable to say. Luckily, other women in the room usually hit him before I can with rolled up newspapers or magazines. Why do we do this to one another? The truth is, if a full-term pregnant woman is gasping, moaning or crying, it’s always a good idea to believe that it’s as bad as it can be and acknowledge her pain and ask her if you can get her something like water, an ice pack, an extra pillow…a vodka tonic…anything. But don’t tell her, “It’s not that bad!”
1. “You’re still pregnant?”
How astute of you to notice that my belly is still huge and I am not carrying a baby in my arms. I imagine in my head coming back with “You’re still fat?” or “You’re still stupid?” but I don’t say it. Why don’t I say it? Who says, “You’re still pregnant?” to an obviously hugely pregnant woman who wants nothing more than to not be pregnant anymore? Idiots, that’s who. If any of you have someone in your life right now who is about to give birth, do something nice for her like bring her a gift or send her a card or a flower or a funny movie. But please, please, don’t say these terrible things to her because she might just punch you. For real.