I am not a cute pregnant woman.
Some gals carry entirely in their bellies. They wear sundresses and cutesy "Got Milk?" T-shirts over their baby bumps. From the rear, they could still be mistaken for Pilates instructors or table dancers. Not me. My pregnancy is visible from all angles. Sure, my belly looks pregnant, but so does my butt. And my shoulders. And my ankles. And my nose. When pregnant, I appear to be carrying one or more babies in several locations throughout my body.
Which is why it is all the more impressive that, other than that brief altercation with someone's grandmother last week over the parking space she stole from me in front of the ice cream stand, I have not been particularly temperamental or unreasonable during this pregnancy. Despite looking like a medium-sized tool shed, I have largely kept my cool.
Because, you see, I've just passed my due date. And I can feel the crazy coming on.
Yes, yes, statistically speaking, a woman is far more likely to give birth a day or two before or after her due date rather than precisely on it. The math makes sense. But you fixate on that date. It becomes a mantra to get you through.
"On April 24th, I can sleep on my stomach again."
"On April 24th, the heartburn will end."
"On April 24th, I'll touch my toes."
Your due date becomes the finish line. And when you arrive there without a baby, it's as though you've just run a marathon only to be told they've extended the distance of the race. Instead of twenty-six miles, you'll be running twenty-eight. Instead of nine months pregnant, you are working on ten.
And so, it stands to reason, we otherwise kind-hearted, large-bodied women, have by now, developed some sensitivities. Thus, there are a few things it might be best not to say to us:
So is there anything safe to say? Are all women past their due dates crazy people? Probably. I can't speak for all of us, but I don't mind when folks ask me sincerely how I'm feeling. Sure, upon occasion, I offer too much information. "Well, I'm irritated that I peed on myself when I sneezed just now." But, for the most part, I actually find moments of clarity when I think someone is genuinely concerned. Today, when a friend emailed to ask how I was doing, I replied, "I'm okay. I've actually been taking this week to cherish my girls. I watched them sleep last night when I couldn't. Once the baby comes, we'll be topsy-turvy for awhile. It's good to remind myself -- and them -- that we are going to be okay."
And we will be okay. Because one day this baby will come out.
Until then, just don't ask me his name.
Follow Annmarie Kelly-Harbaugh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dadvmom