An open letter to the pregnant ladies who have watched their due date come and go…

A letter to women who are over 40 weeks pregnant: You aren't late! | thebenroecks.com

Every time I see someone post on Twitter, their blog, Instagram, etc etc that their due date has come and gone, I immediately want to reach out to them and say so many things, because this is something I can definitely relate to! But, I’m not sure my unsolicited feedback on their uterine situation would be welcomed, so I’m going to write an open letter on here, instead!

Thank goodness for blogging, where we can say all things unsolicited!

Anyway, if I were going to send an email to every pregnant lady over 40 weeks along, this is what it would say:

Dear You,

First of all, you are beautiful. You’ve never looked more lovely, even if you feel like crap. You are growing a little human being, darnit, what is more lovely than that?! Actually, you aren’t even really growing a human, because I’m pretty sure that little person is fully done and just working on gaining weight and putting the finishing touches on those lungs. If your little one is anything like my Clara, (s)he is also growing super long fingernails and long hair with highlights, but maybe my gal is just more high maintenance than most. Anyway, I know what it feels like to be ‘overdue’, because I went 41+3 with Clara. That’s 10 days over my ‘due date’ and I understand that those last few days/weeks can be awful.

But here’s the thing, 41 weeks is not ‘late’ at all. The average first time mom goes over 41 weeks before going into labor. Going over your due date does not mean your baby is ‘late’ it means that the doctor wasn’t so great at predicting your baby’s birth date! Darn medicine, getting our hopes up only to keep us waiting! 

I know it doesn’t feel fair that some women go into labor at 38 weeks and have a perfectly healthy baby while you’re still waiting for weeks and weeks longer than that for your little miracle to arrive. Trust me, I hope my baby decides to come out a little earlier next time, as long as (s)he is healthy. But, research tells us that babies are healthiest after 39 weeks and before 42 weeks, so if your baby is taking a bit longer than 40 weeks, know that it’s normal and healthy and just hang in there!

Knowing that 41 weeks is still actually earlier than ‘average’, I personally would not want to be induced until 42 weeks (which is when most hospitals insist the baby be born by because of increased risks after that), but that’s just my personal opinion, because I would try to avoid Pitocin, if possible. I did the Pitocin thing, and it wasn’t fun. I wouldn’t do it again just to get the baby out a few hours/days earlier. (Of course, if you’re feeling like something is wrong, get your butt to the hospital and check it out! It’s no big deal to go into triage and have them monitor the baby for a bit to make sure everything is okay.)

Well-meaning people are probably recommending you sleep more now, because you won’t after the baby is born. Let me just say, I slept way better after Clara was born. My bladder suddenly felt huge and I needed to pee much less and I could lie on my side or my back and after a while I could lie on my stomach… Sleeping at 40 weeks pregnant (or anywhere near there) is next to impossible, I get it. I had so many pillows around me that I was practically sitting the whole night. I feel your pain, there is no way you’re sleeping at this point.

People might also recommend you go on dates with your husband. I understand that dates (probably) aren’t fun at this stage either. You’re most likely feeling huge and people are staring and your belly pushes against restaurant tables and just trying to fit into a booth is comical/embarrassing. Plus, once you get comfortable (anywhere) you probably need to get up to pee every few minutes and the whole thing may seem like more trouble than it’s worth. Tim and I chose to watch season after season of Modern Family and it was boring and I didn’t feel like doing anything else, and I think that’s okay.

To keep your sanity, you could try natural induction methods to get the baby out. I personally am sure they work, but they didn’t work for me! It couldn’t hurt to have lots of sex though. Yeah, it’s awkward, but you can’t do it for weeks and weeks after the baby is born (and I doubt you’ll want to) and did you know that breastfeeding kills your libido?! I just learned that one today. Anyway, I digress, but basically, if you’re stuck inside the house at this stage, you may as well get busy with your man between episodes of Modern Family, I think that’s what I’m trying to say.

It’s okay to cry because you’re miserable and you just want the darn baby to come out. I cried. I was so frustrated with how huge and uncomfortable I became, and I was scared about the labor and delivery because I felt like it was never going to start, and I really am not good at waiting for big life events! You don’t need to love these last few weeks. You don’t need to treasure your last few moments of being a two person family with just you and your husband. You can wake up every day feeling disappointed that you didn’t go into labor the night before. I like to think that all of those feelings are very, very normal.

I promise, once you go into labor, all the mysteries will be revealed. Your baby will come out and it might be a natural delivery and it might be a completely medical delivery and it might not matter what you prepared for these last few months. Most importantly, you will finally know the baby’s birth date and gender (if you didn’t find out ahead of time), and all of that stuff is so exciting!

And then when you’re recovering in the hospital you will be exhausted. And when you go back home you’ll be exhausted. But here’s the thing, you will also be so, so happy and relieved. You will quickly decide your little miracle was worth the wait and be thankful about the health of your baby and wondering how your body could create an entire little person. Yeah, there are going to be hard days, I’ve written about some of those already and I’ll write about some more in the future. But don’t think about those now, think about the happy times to come!

Now that Clara is here, I haven’t really thought about those last few weeks of pregnancy. They seem like a blip in time, and pretty really insignificant.

What I’m saying is, try to get through these next few days. Honestly, it’s only days. You can do this. You might be miserable, but you can survive. Remember you’re beautiful, you’re capable, and there’s nothing you need to do right now other than rest. Take it easy, lady, and don’t worry too much – worrying doesn’t help anything. Try to remain positive, because it’s more fun to be positive than negative, but also don’t be afraid to complain to friends, especially those who have been pregnant before.

Good luck! Before you know it you’re going to be a mommy, and I bet you won’t be able to believe there was life before your little one. Babies have a way of making you realize how incomplete you never knew you were without them.

Love,

Someone-who-has-been-there-done that-and-lived-to-tell-the-tale

Cheers!

Update: I wrote this blog post shortly after my first baby was born. I’m now pregnant with my third! My second one was even later than my first, gulp. Follow along on Instagram to see what we’ve been up to!

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27 Responses to An open letter to the pregnant ladies who have watched their due date come and go…

  1. I’m due 12/16 and I just know that I’m going to end up with a Christmas baby. I am totally bookmarking this to go back and reread while I’m waddling around and whining about being past my due date. Excellent post!

    • Lisa says:

      Tim is a Christmas Eve baby and he was due 12/14, so it could happen (although for your sake I hope you don’t go that far past your due date)! Feel free to reach out if you get to that point and want to complain non-stop… I will be able to relate!

  2. Amberly says:

    Love this!!! I always love your, “Don’t listen to all of the “norm” advice that you’re given” attitude!! 🙂

  3. Kristen says:

    This is an awesome post! I read it preparing to cringe, because lately all the pregnancy related ‘advice’ posts I have read are totally cringe-worthy but THIS was an awesome read and totally real and totally something every woman nearing or at the end of her pregnancy should read. Beautiful! Bravo!

    • Lisa says:

      Thanks so much, Kristen! It seems like not many women go way over their due date anymore (because inductions are so common) so I didn’t find many helpful articles for women who are over 40 weeks pregnant when I was in that situation! I hope this helps someone 🙂

  4. KRISTIN F. says:

    love love love this! i was a week past due and it was seriously the hardest/most emotional week of my life. definitely bookmarking this for friends who go past due in the future!

  5. Niki says:

    I’m due today and have told myself the entire time that I’m going to go over since it’s our first. Luckily our natural childbirth class taught us that early on! I wish some of my friends understood it though!! I’ve been blessed with a crazy non eventful pregnancy and don’t feel too crappy yet so that helps with the waiting!!

    • Lisa says:

      I hope you’ve had your baby by now! And if not, don’t worry, (s)he will come eventually and it will be amazing! I went to a natural childbirth class and loved it… I hope you enjoy your labor & delivery experience!

  6. CassieEliya says:

    Love this post!! so glad you comment on my blog and that I took a look at yours!

  7. Heather Austin-Robillard says:

    This was really helpful to read for some reason. I am currently 41 +1 and had even had regular contractions 3-5 minutes apart for a day and they went away. Definitely got my hopes up. Nothing anybody has said has really helped but for some reason reading this blog has helped a little bit.

    • Lisa says:

      I hope that baby is out by now!! I’m so glad you found the post reassuring. Going past your due date is hard stuff (emotionally and physically) and I’m sure I’ll be experiencing it again in a few more months with baby #2! I’ll be re-reading my own post for sure 🙂

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  10. Chantelle says:

    This was so nice to read. Thank you! I am only 38.3 but I love reading/ hearing about positive pregnancy. There is way too much negative out there. So thank you again for this!! I feel I will go over my due date, and I am perfectly okay with that. My little man will come when HE is ready! And I will wait patiently for him 🙂

    • Lisa says:

      I love your attitude! I went 12 days over with my second kid and had to re-read this letter for myself 😉 It’s hard going over your due date but looking back it all happens in such a blur.

  11. 40 + 5… THANK YOU. I absolutely love this.

  12. Whitney Applin says:

    Lisa, I’m officially crying. Thank you for every single word you wrote. I’m overdue by four days today, according to my very first ultrasounds (which I never really believed). You hit the nail on the head about how I’m feeling right now and I just want to thank you. I’m doing a natural birth in a tub and my midwife is going to let me go to 41 weeks and five day. Next week is going to be an exciting week for us if this little munchkin doesn’t come this weekend. Think of us as we go through our journey and again, thank you for all your words. They mean more than you know! Take care! Whitney

  13. Ally Haefner says:

    thank you thank you THANK YOU for writing this because it captures all the feels going on inside right now (oh hey, 41 weeks)!! Especially the thoughts towards the well-meaning people who tell me to get sleep and enjoy time with the hubs… love them, but that’s definitely hard to do at this point. So thankful to read a post that is so honest and encouraging for this strange, exciting, and uncomfortable time!

    • Lisa says:

      I hope you had that sweet baby by now!! I’m really glad this post was meaningful for you, I was 10 days “late” with my first daughter (when I wrote this post) and 12 days “late” with my second, so I feel you!!! <3

  14. lisa says:

    An endless thank YOU for this post!! <3 Im sitting here 41+5 today
    wanting to wait as long as we can for our little boy to come naturally,
    but gosh is my patients wearing thinner every day now haha! Thank you,
    it was such a needed read <3

    • Lisa says:

      I’m so glad you found this post and that it provided some encouragement! My water broke with my first daughter at 41+3 and my contractions started with my second at 41+5. I wish you the BEST OF LUCK in the very near future and for a happy and healthy baby/delivery! You’ve got this, mama!

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