At 36 weeks pregnant I called myself an asthmatic walrus and my bestie laughed so hard she peed herself (iykyk) but it was so true. Even my maternity clothes were getting tight and I couldn’t get up the three steps into the house without huffing and puffing. It was outrageous and I was over it. I was done, and never mind the fact that I had anywhere from 1 to 6 more weeks to go. (I didn’t stay pregnant much longer, but that’s a topic for another blog.)
You know exactly what I’m talking about. Pregnant people try really hard not to think about going past their due date but only an estimated 5% of babies are born on their due date. Some come earlier and many come later. There’s several options for induction, both medical and natural methods, but if you’re the type to very, very, very, very patiently wait for the baby to make their appearance you just need suggestions of ways to hold on to your sanity until then. As a doula I’m on pins and needles with you and this is what I recommend.
Keep your mind busy
Move, but don’t overdo
Nourish and hydrate
Encourage your baby
It seems so simple and obvious but I swear this is some of the hardest stuff you’ll ever do. I have faith in you though!
Keep Your Mind Busy
Word puzzles aren’t just for grandmas, you know. If you’re someone who likes this type of thing then download an app and fly through the levels. I like Words with Friends (it’s like Scrabble) because honestly, there’s no thrill that compares to playing a 100+ point word and knowing your opponent is calling you names wherever in the world they may be. Whatever you download don’t choose something timed or something that requires you play in real time though!
If you’re a reader, load up your Kindle or phone with some free options. Smutty historical romance, anyone? Or maybe a sci-fi adventure, or a thrilling murder mystery? (Let me know if you need recommendations) Anything that lets you be someone else who isn’t 9+ months pregnant, right?
One thing I don’t suggest is TV shows, unless you’re one of those oddballs who can turn it off in the middle of an episode. You’re pregnant, your labor could start any minute and you don’t want to be thinking about the main character’s love triangle imploding while you’re busy having a baby.
Move, But Don’t Overdo
My favorite quote about this comes from Ina May Gaskin, and I’m fairly certain I read it in her book Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth. “The energy that gets the baby in is the energy that gets the baby out.” The look on the partner’s face(s) when I say this and they realize what I mean is priceless! It took some movement and some energy to make that baby, right? It’s going to take movement and energy to get the baby out. That’s why it’s important that you keep active but don’t go overboard. If your muscles are sore, aching and weak because you cleaned your house top, bottom and behind the fridge the day your labor starts, you probably won’t have the reserves left to labor effectively. Labor is a marathon for most birthing people so keep yourself in a state of readiness. Pace yourself with whatever necessary chores/work needs done and don’t push it.
Nourish and Hydrate
No, Red Bull doesn’t count. Say it with me, water. W-A-T-E-R. I’ll also accept tea, broth, fruit juice… A lot of nutritious options. The same goes for food. I know having delicious gooey greasy pizza delivered sounds heavenly in late pregnancy rather than standing at the stove. Honestly, I think my local Domino’s team knew me by name. I’m not a dietician so I’m not going to make specific suggestions but maybe try swapping your bacon for turkey bacon? Make a chicken enchilada soup in a crockpot instead of getting Taco Bell? I’m just saying there’s options that are also fast but cheaper than eating junk, no matter how delicious that junk food may be. Also maybe consider scooping some ice cream out rather than eating the whole pint of Ben and Jerry’s, not that I’m speaking from experience or anything, and to hell with the dishes.
Encourage Your Baby
Talking to your belly is something that falls into two camps - either it feels perfectly natural or you feel like an idiot. Science shows that the baby can hear you and will react to the tone of your voice even in utero. Don’t get frustrated and yell, “Get out already you moocher!” because that’s a) ineffective, b) rude, and c) will make you seem like you’ve finally lost your marbles. That’s a tiny human in your uterus and while there’s absolutely no reasoning with them and begging is futile, let them know they’re welcome. Tell them they’re loved, they’re wanted, and how happy you’ll be to hold them. Share with them the names and relations of everyone waiting to meet them, describe the outfit you’ll bring them home in, and visualize it. Build that picture in your mind of your little one swaddled and in your arms. Feel it. Hear it. Manifest it with your will and make it a reality. That baby may not know your words but they know your energy, and they want to be part of the image you created. And if nothing else, it’s a good mental distraction, right?
There’s nothing short of medical intervention that can make a baby arrive when you want them to, but hopefully these ideas help pass the time. You won’t be pregnant forever even though it feels like it now, and you’re not alone. Millions of others have gone through this experience or are going through it now. You’re one in an unbroken line of birthing people stretching back through the eons. You have their strength within you and you can do this.