I pretty much jinxed myself in the intro of this post because I definitely went late with my baby. At the time of writing this, I’m at 41 weeks pregnant and counting every day and hour. Because you know what? Going past your due date is hard. Physically and mentally, it’s kind of a mental starts-with-an-“f”-and-ends-with-a-“k.” [Editor’s note: Jenn went to 42 weeks, 2 days!]
You get so jazzed up and excited for 40 weeks (and even prepared a bit early because this happens to mom friends you know and love), and then that magic day hits and then nothing. You get bigger, more uncomfortable and time — time that was flying by — comes to a colossal standstill. Most of your baby to-dos are done and you’ve got plans in place to cover work and life while you’re away bonding with baby. And you are so, so, so ready and excited … and so, so, so not in control of when it happens.
Sound familiar? It does for me because I’m living it. And although I have not survived going past my due date totally calmly or joyously so far, I have learned a few things. And have a few tips I wish I could go back and tell myself (eerily, it kind of reminds me of surviving the two-week wait when TTC — but, obviously, I’m much, much, much more grateful for this) … here is that list!
Going Past Your Due Date? 15 Tips to Help Physically and Mentally
1. Avoid the due-date hype. I knew in my brain that most first-time moms go past their due dates. In fact, you’re not even considered “late term” until you hit 42 weeks. And yet, I was darn certain that I’d go closer to 38 weeks. If I had mentally settled in to the idea that baby would come in a range of time (say mid to late February instead of by February 17) rather than by or around a day, I may not have avoided the physical uncomfortableness of pregnancy, but the mental you-know-what would have been way better. So I beg you to not look at your due date as the be-all end-all.
2. Plan something awesome every single day. It really doesn’t matter what it is. A good meal, a warm bath, a pedi, a really guilty pleasure TV show (holy thank you, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce!), a nap, a massage, a magazine, a song download, a new color of lip gloss or a decaf latte — plan a little something every day that you’ll look forward to. That little treat can totally make the day a little brighter and easier to get through when it’s feeling like your baby will never, ever come out.
3. Do the projects, even the boring ones. You know the stuff you’ve been putting off, like figuring out your will, organizing your tax documents, cleaning behind the stove, etc.? There’s never been a better time to do them (and, of course, enlist the help of others as you need it for the heavy lifting).
4. Be active, if you can. A walk, a little prenatal yoga, some push-ups against a wall … all of these things can be a great way to boost your mood and even possibly help baby get in a good position for when the time does come.
5. Enlist the help of mom friends — or not. Commiserating with mom friends is awesome. That said, if your entire line of family and friends won’t stop asking you how you’re doing or if you’ve had the baby yet, don’t feel bad taking forever to respond, or just turning off your phone all together. A good message to always respond with “Don’t worry; you’ll know once this baby is born because I’ll be ready to shout it from the rooftops!” They mean well, really.
6. Do the obvious things that’ll be harder with baby — but also give yourself permission to just veg. Clearly going out to eat and to the movies is harder once you have a baby. But don’t fake the funk. If you don’t feel like going out, don’t go out. Listen to your body and what it’s telling you it needs.
7. Start a ritual. I tend to find that I’m my most emotional (and cranky) when I first wake up and realize “no baby over night” or at night when I realize “this ain’t happening today.” A ritual is great for this. It can be saying a phrase a few time that calms you down (see no. 15, which is mine), making a cup of tea, taking a bath, doing some stretches, deep breathing — anything that feels good.
8. Get meditative. And speaking of feeling good, meditation is awesome for surviving going past your due date. Set a timer and just sit for anywhere from 5 to 20 (or more if you’re up to it!) minutes. It can be just the peace you need.
9. Use tunes to stay upbeat. You know that birth playlist? Rock it. In fact, rock any music that makes you feel good.
10. Talk to and read to your baby. You probably have a nursery full of books. Yes, you’ll have plenty of nights reading to baby soon, but why not get an early start? It’s an easy way to bond and connect now. Don’t feel like reading? Go ahead and just start a conversation with him or her if you haven’t already. They’re listening!
11. Cry. It’s okay. The wait sucks and you’re uncomfortable and hormonal. Cry when you want to cry. That said …
12. Laugh. The more you can laugh the better. This will pass. One day you will look back and crack up at how anxious you were and know it was all worth it. (Moms swear this is true.) So hang out with your friends and partner and try to find the humor in it all. It’s a great way to release the tension. (Bonus tip: As is sex! If you can find a good position.)
13. Do the Thriller dance. Hey, it worked for this lady.
14. Fill up that freezer. You know you won’t have as much time to cook later, so consider making some freezer meals. It passes the time and it’ll come in super handy later. Need ideas? Oh, Pinterest has about a million for every way of eating!
15. Remind yourself that no one has stayed pregnant forever. I know it feels like you might be the first one to break this rule, but you won’t. I promise.
Those of you who also went past your due date? Any other tips? —Jenn