Seriously. There is no date. There is no due. There is no “due date”. Babies don’t know when they’re coming until they’re coming, and neither do you. Nor does your doctor, or midwife. 50 percent of first-time birthers have their babies before 40 weeks and five days, and 50 percent give birth after that. So, even if you tack on 5 days to your estimated due date, you’re much closer to what it’ll actually be. Some studies have found that estimates for due dates can vary up to five weeks! There is no other biological process we put more undue pressure on than birth, and no other biological process that could benefit more from having less pressure put on it!
There Is No Such Thing As A Due Date
I just wanted to make that a heading so you’d be forced to read it again. There are so many variables at play that determine when someone is ready to have a baby, and when that baby is ready to be born. So many complicated cascades of hormones, so many minute adjustments in positioning… So many mind games! Did you know that stress and anxiety are proven to actually prolong pregnancy? (Here’s the article.) Avoiding stress and anxiety plays a huge role in not only keeping your pregnancy from going on for an eternity, but, more importantly, in your physical and mental well being and that of your baby. Cortisol, one of the stress hormones, has been shown to actually affect babies in the womb as well as their capacity for handling stress once they’re independent humans.
There are so many strategies for avoiding stress and trying to enjoy (or at least survive) the last few days of your pregnancy. I’m not going to list them here; I’ve probably done that in other blog posts. Other people constantly poking, prodding, and asking “have you had that baby yet?” is one of the worst offenders. One of the most beneficial things someone can do is, early on in the pregnancy, let go of the date. Try to forget it. Try to think of it as the month one week before your estimated due date and three weeks after. Certainly, try to change the language you use around it. The way we talk about things affects the way we think about them, so I suggest using the phrase “estimated due date” from now on (for yourself and any other person you speak to). And if that doesn’t work, just lie.
The Due Date Lie
Here’s something will thank yourself for doing: tell people you don’t know the due date. If that seems absurd and/or they keep asking, lie and tell them it’s three weeks after the date your care provider has given you. When your baby “magically” (inevitably) arrives before that date and people say “oh, your baby was early!” you can choose to say “nope, I just fibbed so nobody would pester me about whether or not I’d gone into labour” or just “yup, but we’re all fine”. It’s a win-win. Don’t you love those?