When I found out I was pregnant for the first time I was so excited I routinely revealed my baby news to anyone who would listen, whether they were interested or not. I quickly discovered that all pregnant women are asked, for the most part, the same set of questions, starting with, "When's your due date?" I learned the hard way that you don't always want to answer that question, and I refuse to tell anyone my due date the next time around as a result.
Blame it on the general public's love of pregnant women and their brand new babies, but the question, "When are you due?" gets old real quick. While it's wonderful to know people are so excited for your new addition, almost as much as you are, constantly answering that specific question — or dealing with comments like, "Any day now!" or intrusive questions like "No baby, yet?" — becomes a part of pregnancy you don't have the time, energy, or patience to deal with.
Still, I didn't really understand the implications of revealing my due date until it was too late. When the magical day came and went, the messages started rolling in. Phone calls, messages, social media posts and queries; I was suddenly swamped with attention I didn't necessarily appreciate. As a cranky, impatient, mom-to-be I could have done without the additional pressure. It turns out, though, that when I shared my due date with the masses I inadvertently invited more questions, unsolicited advice, assumptions, and comments. That's why I, for one, will not be revealing my due date to anyone ever again.
Because It's Only A Prediction Anyway
So many expectant moms hold their due date up as some sort of promise of when their baby will arrive. Really, it's no surprise that people become obsessed with this date, even though it's more of a general assumption than a hard-and-fast expectant date. The due date is calculated by adding 280 days, or 40 weeks, after a women's last reported menstrual period. Many women have irregular cycles, though, which can alter these measurements. An ultrasound can give a more accurate due date but, again, they are not foolproof and are dependent on the skill and experience of the ultrasound technician.
Doctors are only making an estimate. It's an educated guess, but it's still just a guess, babies come when they come.
Because It Encourages Size Comments
Sadly, when you reveal your due date you essentially encourage people to make unnecessary comments about the size and shape of your pregnant body.
I thought my baby bump was just beautiful, but I did encounter one woman who didn't agree. She simply did not believe the due date I had been given was accurate because I was, in her words, "so big."
Because It Facilitates Annoying Updates
"Only three weeks to go!"
"Less than a week away from meeting my baby!"
"One more day!"
While I completely understand someone being ridiculously excited about my impending labor and delivery, the constant updates can grow a little taxing. I like to call these people "countdown queens," who delight in giving me daily baby updates despite the fact that I was the one actually carrying the baby.
Because Most Babies Aren't Born On Their Due Date
Only 5 percent of babies are born on their due date, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine, and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. That means the vast majority of women are not going into labor on their prescribed due date.
Because It Encourages People To Panic
Once my due date came and went, I could feel a discernible air of panic in the flurry of queries and comments that came my way. I was trying hard not to be concerned myself, and it's ridiculously difficult to maintain a sense of calm patience when everyone around you is freaking out.
Because People Don't Really Care Anyway
"When are you due?" is just the standard response to a pregnancy announcement. I am not convinced people actually care anyway (or, perhaps, the majority of people who aren't part of my daily life).
Next time I plan to free others of this convention by simply refusing to answer at all. I might give a month indication, but that's it.
Because It's Private
Once you become pregnant much of your bodily autonomy is surrendered and you're literally sharing your body with another person. You're also subjected to regular, often invasive check-ups and have to answer some pretty personal questions. People question what you eat, what you drink, and how active you are, as if you shouldn't be able to simply exist without someone else's thoughts on the matter.
In the end, I think it's important for pregnant women to keep as many things private as possible and as they want. If you want to be open about your experience, have at it, but if you don't people need to respect your process without trying to pry. We all need things that are just for us.
Because It Makes Your Due Date Hell
For an entire month, my social media feed consisted of nothing but "Any news?" posts, and it was beyond annoying.
Over the course of my pregnancy my due date changed three times. The difference between my first due date and my sons actual birth date was 17 days, you guys. So for that, and many other reasons, the next time I'm pregnant I'm keeping my due date to myself.