For the most part, pregnancy takes about 40 weeks (give or take). However, there's no exact science involved in predicting when a baby is going to come into the world. In the end, the baby arrives whenever they damn well like. Throw in an inaccurate period there or a miscalculation here, and it's easy to see how a due date is a suggestion instead of a deadline. It's also easy to see why there are more than a few comments that are in no way helpful when a pregnant woman is past her due date.
For example, I was 42 weeks pregnant and my baby was showing no interest in joining the world. It was January and really cold, so I guess I couldn't blame him. Still, it didn't make it any easier to watch my due date come and go, listen to all the comments about how "big" I was, or field questions about why my baby hasn't arrived yet.
So I tried a variety of tips and tricks to get him to make an appearance. In the end, though, he needed some help from the doctors. An induction, having my water broken, and a bunch of drugs later and he still was hunkered down and refusing to budge. I ended up waiting an additional two days before I met my son, and in no way did the inane and frustrating comments of others help move the process along. So, if you know a pregnant woman past her due date, maybe avoid saying the following:
"Did You Have The Baby Yet?"
I am not one of those celebrities capable of secretly having a baby, waiting months to reveal their new addition to the world. In other words, if I had my baby, believe me, you would know about it.
"Still No Baby News?"
The people that ask you if you had the baby yet are the same people that will continually repeat the question (in a variety of ways that mean the same exact thing) days later. It's so, so frustrating. So, again, for the people in the back: I will let you know.
"That Baby Is Going To Be Huge!"
This comment not only sounds like an insult, it can be the cause of some serious paranoia as you start to panic about how giant your baby is going to be. There isn't a pregnant woman in the world who wants to think about the logistics of getting a gigantic baby out of her body.
"You Should Try [Insert Labor Inducing Tactic Here]"
Believe me, if a woman has gone beyond her due date she has probably run through all the usual labor-inducing tips and tricks. I would put my money on the undeniable fact that she's been exercising, eating spicy foods, and even having sex on the regular. So, it's unlikely that your suggestion is a new one. Instead, offer some sympathy (and maybe some chocolate).
"It Feels Like You've Been Pregnant For Years!"
I know, it's happening in my body. Honestly, how is this helpful? If anyone feels like it's been ages, it's me.
"You'll Probably Have To Be Induced"
I don't know about anyone else, but once I passed my due date the possibility of being induced hung around me like a cloud. I have a feeling most women feel the same, and that possibility can either be a welcomed one, or a freakin' scary one. Either way, the idea of an induction is already present, so there's no need to talk about it.
"You Might Have To Have A C-Section"
Well, that's cheerful, guys. Telling a pregnant woman, who is so over being pregnant, that what lies ahead is someone cutting her open is, you know, not the best idea. She is probably already worried about the big day, so she needs support and encouragement instead of your best medical "guess."
Of course, there's nothing wrong with having a c-section and plenty of women welcome the idea once they've passed a certain point in their pregnancies (or just in general). However, if the pregnant woman in your life has a specific birth plan that doesn't involve an operating room, and you're all "c-section this and c-section that!" you're not being helpful. You're scaring the sh*t out of her.
"The Baby Doesn't Want To Leave"
Well, that's too bad because, um, they have to. It also kind of gave me the creeps when people discuss how "cozy" my uterus is.
"No One Is Pregnant Forever"
Although this is true, it doesn't really help when it feels like you are going to be the first woman to stay pregnant forever. When I was over my due date I started to become a recluse, only because I was sick of hearing the same comments from practically everyone.
Instead I wanted to be around people who took my mind off what was happening in my body. You know, people who treated me like a person and not a baby incubator. So, if anything, that's what a woman needs to hear when she's passed her due date: that she's still a person.