Pregnancy lasts approximately 40 weeks, though anyone who has been through it knows it feels like a lot looooooonger. That’s partially because due dates are the single biggest lie of pregnancy. The battle with your due date is a universal struggle that all expecting mothers fight. While some have morning sickness, some feel great. Some women watch their nipples darken, others are busy plucking hairs. But no one escapes the due date dance which starts with that first question on our OB’s form: last menstrual period.
We suddenly give more thought to that question than ever. Do I count the spotting that started the day before my heavy flow? Wait, aren’t they really trying to figure out the gestational age of the fetus? There’s no way I could have conceived two weeks after my last period. So maybe I should add a week? And thus begins the pregnancy half-truths, sometimes lies, usually delusional things you totally convince yourself of throughout the five stages of gestation in our minds.
1. Shock and Amazement: Surreal.
Whether you’ve been trying for a year or you weren’t at all, the shock of those two blue lines is something your body never forgets. Convention says you don’t share the news with even close family and friends until after the first few tenuous weeks, which only adds to the surrealness of the whole situation. You’re hanging out with friends, fake sipping your beer or telling your mom you have food poisoning or a 24-hour bug. You are trying to act normal and composed on the outside, yet on the inside you are swirling. I can’t believe I’m finally pregnant. I didn’t think it would ever happen. Or I can’t believe I got pregnant. How could this have happened? I wonder if I’ll get sick. I wonder if I’ll get fat. I wonder if it will be a boy or a girl. Did his mother just say she had twin aunts? Why is this the first time I’m hearing about twins in the family? Can I handle twins? All while smiling and wondering if anyone will notice you dumping your drink in the sink.
2. Shock and Amazement: This Shit’s Real.
You’ve been to the doctor, and finally exhaled when you saw that little blinking dot of a heartbeat on the ultrasound screen. The shock and amazement you feel is spilling over like an erupting volcano. You’ve started to share your news – with your parents, your best friend, your co-workers and the barista at your coffee shop (let’s make it a half-caf). Your normal clothes almost fit, but they don’t feel good. Regardless of your appetite, you begin to crave cotton and spandex — but you resist maternity clothes with the force of a vegan being offered a non-soy latte. You discover a rubber band weaved through the hole and around the button of your jeans buys you an extra week or two before your wardrobe includes the never heard before term “belly panel.” Or maybe you are on your second pregnancy and you think, “well since I have these already, might as well start wearing them — not that I need them…”
3. I Can’t Carry This Baby One More Day.
Every woman has their breaking point in pregnancy. For some women it is 30 or 32 weeks, while others feel it at 35 or 38 weeks. For me it was 36 weeks. I felt like I had been pregnant for a year at least and the thought of at another month or more was more than I could handle. I mean, I had a complete breakdown. Hysterically crying, talking nonsense, curled up in the fetal position — creating the bodily yang to the baby’s yin in your uterus. After you’ve thoroughly convinced your partner that you just CAN.NOT.DO.THIS, you get off the bed, one foot at a time and push through.