I was lucky in my pregnancy. I didn’t have unusual sickness, I was able to stay mobile, and I was able to keep working until my due date. But as soon as my due date hit, I had to stay home.
It wasn’t anything about my pregnancy that made for the change. It was the pressure. The pressure from my co-workers and customers made me want to curl up and cry. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, they say, and it was starting to feel like my own personal hell.
The day after my due date I walked in to, “You’re STILL pregnant!”
It was the first time in my pregnancy that my body felt broken, that I had done something wrong. Was I a bad mother for not delivering my baby when I was “supposed” to?
I had read the books and taken the classes so I knew that the average first time mom doesn’t deliver until she is 41+ weeks.
I knew that, but I felt different.
Up until my due date, I was in the throws of fall. Friends were going to corn mazes people were trying to find last minute Halloween costumes. Because I was due on October 30th I made zero plans for the holiday, thinking hopefully, I’d be holding my baby.
So now, every fall, as parents are looking for festivals and pumpkin patches, whenever I see I pregnant woman, it comes back. Trying to relax is very hard when it feels like your entire community is waiting for you to have a baby.
I know I’m not the only one who has felt this pressure. As I doula for more and more women, it seems it is almost unavoidable. So if you have a pregnant woman in your life, perhaps to REALLY help her, be a safe place for her to rest.
Keep the Pressure Off
- Offer pillows to help get her situated comfortably. Offer some water. It really is the small things sometimes.
- Suggest a phone free afternoon, and go see a movie. So much pressure can come from social media now that suggesting a no-phone friend date can be incredibly restorative.
- Try not to focus on the uncomfortable parts of day-to-day life, but instead ask her what she is looking forward to. Who will the baby look like? How did they pick the name? Any baby clothes she wants to show you?
- Tell her she is beautiful. She may be feeling anything but attractive, but she needs to hear it.
- And if she wants it, help her find a last minute costume to get her out of the house!