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Have You Had The Baby Yet? ……. By Dr Bianca Bryce

“Have you had the baby yet?” Are there any words more annoying in the English language?  I think most mamas that have been past their due date will attest to this.

People seem to think that you may just forget to mention the fact that you had the baby, like you might forget to mention, say, that you went to the beach on the weekend – “oh, it just didn’t seem that important”.  ARE THEY CRAZY?  You are finally welcoming a whole new tiny person into this world after growing him or her for the better part of 10 months, and you might just forget to mention it?

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Picture Courtesy of Birthography
www.birthography.blogspot.com

Of course, everyone’s circumstances are different, and there may be many reasons why you’re not jumping in to share your news straight away.  If there have been major complications, sometimes it takes a little while to get your own heads around what’s happened, and even longer to work out how to tell others.  Sometimes in this situation it can be helpful to delegate to someone you know and trust – tell them the summary version of events and ask them to pass it on to those people that you feel need to know.  Be sure to ask them to pass on your wishes in terms of being contacted – don’t be afraid to say that you need some time to yourselves to process things without being disturbed.

Or you may just be like my cousin…I was sitting on my hands, knowing that he and his partner were expecting their first baby, not wanting to be the person who phones to ask the dreaded question…when I got a text message that read something like this… “I think my last text may not have worked…we had the baby last Sunday, mum and bub well”.  Let me stress, people, this is the exception to the rule!

The opposite is more common – mostly birth partners are on the phone to family and friends before the placenta is out.  Sometimes the new baby is on facebook while I’m suturing a perineum.  In fact, just a heads up, friends and family -announcing someone’s birth on facebook BEFORE the parents – that’s a definite no-no.  And yes, it has happened.

I think part of the reason that “have you had the baby yet” is so annoying, is that mostly you are pretty over being pregnant by the time you go past your due date.  Many women are feeling as big as a house, getting up to pee a thousand times at night, unable to roll over in bed without the use of a forklift…it can be miserable.  Plus you are super psyched to see this small person that you have been slowly getting to know over the last 10 months.  And I think that’s mostly where the question comes from – your family and friends are also impatient to meet your baby.  Now, I could go into a long lecture here about due dates, and how they should only ever be thought of as a guide, but maybe that’s a story for another day.  Let me just say, you are best not to get your heart set on any one day.  And if possible, you need to educate your family on this fact!

Despite the fact that many women have had enough and are feeling miserable, there are some who relish this time of waiting.  There’s a lovely blog post by a midwife in the US who talks about this time of waiting for the baby as being a distinct entity of its own, a time for reflection and preparation.  She even gives it a name – “zwischen”, which means ‘between’ in German.  She suggests “giving it a name gives it dimension, an experience closer to wonder than endurance.”  If you feel like you could do with a bit more wonder at this stage of your pregnancy, check out her post at http://www.mothering.com/community/a/the-last-days-of-pregnancy-a-place-of-in-between

So I say, if you are waiting for your baby, embrace this time of waiting, make it your own, do what YOU want to do, and ignore the pressure from family and friends.  My advice (if it’s too late to give everyone you know a false due date that is 2-4 weeks AFTER your actual date) – invest in an answering machine, and screen your calls with a message that goes something like this.  “We have not had the baby yet, thank you for asking, and please be assured we will let you know when it does happen.  We are enjoying this time of transition and would appreciate your understanding if we don’t get back to you right away.”

Or if all else fails, just direct them to this website:

http://haveyouhadthatbabyyet.com/

Happy zwischen my lovelies xx

Bianca

(This article contains general information only and is not intended to replace advice from a health professional. All information is written from the experience and knowledge of the person writing the post).