Anyone who has gone past their due date (or even gotten pretty close to it) ((In fact, I think it’s safe to say that most women will experience these stages starting around 38 or 39 weeks of pregnancy)) will understand what I’m talking about when I say that there are definitely 5 stages of emotions associated with being hugely pregnant. And it is totally possible and pretty much expected to cycle through all five stages in the space of five minutes, multiple times a day. This makes things interesting (to say the least) for the spouse of said hugely-pregnant lady.
Stage One: Denial
“I’m not going to go past my due date. This baby is going to come just when I want him or her to. In fact, I bet I go into labor at 39 weeks!”
At this point, you’re still certain you’re going to have an on-time baby. You refrain from making plans for your maternity leave or during your last two weeks of work because you just know that you won’t be there. But as your due date inexorably draws nearer, you start to get frustrated. And then comes…
Stage Two: Anger
“My due date has come and gone and I am still pregnant. And if one more person asks me if I’m having contractions, I will seriously lose my schmidt. I will not – I repeat not – have the baby and forget to tell you. So stop harassing me. And as for you baby, you better straighten up and get this party started soon or there will be consequences.”
This is the point where you can’t really be held accountable for your actions. Although you know, deep down inside, that the little old lady at the coffee shop means well, the fact that she’s the 56th person in less than an hour to say “You look ready to pop!” gives you carte blanche to shoot her a death stare as you mutter, “Yeah, whatever” and waddle away as fast as you can.
It is also perfectly reasonable to be mad at your husband, your baby, your uterus, yourself during this stage. Or even to get irrationally angry at inanimate objects. Cell phone acting up? Doesn’t it know you are really pregnant and very uncomfortable!?!? How could it do this to you?!?!?!
Stage Three: Bargaining
“Seriously baby, I will do anything you want if you will just come out. You want spicy food? Okay. You want to a bumpy car ride? I can do that. I’ve got toys and pacifiers and all sorts of awesome things out here if you will just.come.out…. please.”
This is the point where you’re ready to try anything (short of castor oil, perhaps) to jump start labor and get this show on the road. When pregnant women reach stage three, they’ve been known to consume an entire pineapple in one sitting, given it’s purported “cervix ripening” properties. And women who have wanted nothing to do with their husbands since 12 weeks of pregnancy are now contemplating the idea of doing the deed, if it will just bring on contractions. Nevermind that you feel about as sexy as a beached whale at this point. A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.
It’s also normal to offer enticements to your unborn baby. I *may* have offered BIT a pony in exchange for being born. I’m betting on him or her having no recollection of said pony offer once actually born, but I’ll let you know.
Stage Four: Depression
“Just leave me alone. I’m huge, I’m uncomfortable, I’m going to be pregnant forever. No, I don’t want to plan anything. No, I don’t want to talk to anyone. I just want to wallow in my pregnant misery.”
At this point, you’re so depressed and over being pregnant that you just want to hole up in the house and not come out. Ever. Showering? Make-up? Real clothes complete with a bra? Yeah, I think I remember that. I used to do that, right? Now I think I’ll just sit on the couch and eat ice cream…
Stage Five: Acceptance
“Okay fine, baby. You don’t want to come out? Well, I’m going to just get on with my life anyway. And you can just take your sweet time about labor and delivery.”
Once a hugely pregnant woman has reached this stage, it’s much better for everyone involved. You can go back to meeting friends for lunch, doing things around the house, actually bathing with regularity. Because you know you won’t actually be pregnant forever. So you enjoy these things while you can, secure in the knowledge that no one has ever birthed a kindergartner.
When I start to get really frustrated or angry or depressed, I remind myself that I’ve got, at most, 5 more days of being pregnant. So I might as well just get on with the rest of my life and do my best to smile at the little old lady at the coffee shop.
Although if my dad asks me again if I’m having any “rumblings,” I may transition very quickly back to the anger stage. It’s a uterus, not a volcano.