Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm the one with the problem

I am a little weird about due dates.
As in baby due dates.
I'm not telling people what it is.

I mean, I told Dyami. And my parents. And about eight other people.
But when the security guard in the pool parking lot asks me when the "blessed event" is, I do not give him a calendar date.
When the nice mom of a friend of mine asks how much longer I have, I say "Less than a month" or "a few weeks."
And then they press for more detail (as in "But when, exactly?") I don't give any more information.

See, with Lucy, I happily gave out a date through my whole pregnancy. "August 16th," I'd say to all comers.
Only, when it got to be August 10th, I realized something.
I had said August 16th so often that the date had come to mean something to me. And being me, a planner, that likes things just so, I had a hard time not hyperventilating when I realized just how flexible that "due" date was. And that we were getting awfully close to that fictitious deadline.
Thus my reticence when people ask now.

I think the whole concept of a "due date" is not that helpful. Why?
1. Did you know that some German doctor in the late 1800s decreed that women's pregnancies lasted 40 weeks? No, he had no scientific basis for this decision. He just thought it would be neat and tidy to have it last ten moon months. How very Germanic of him. (Does it surprise you that I have German blood running through my veins?) Women's pregnancies last, on average, longer than 40 weeks. And even longer for your first.
2. That ultrasound that you may have used to establish your due date? It has a fairly wide margin of error. In your first trimester, it's plus or minus (if I remember correctly) 5 days. So if your due date is the "15th", anywhere from the 10th to the 20th is fair game. In my case, we didn't get an ultrasound till the second trimester, in which case the margin of error is 8 days or so. That gives us a two week window for an "on-time" baby. If you were paying attention to conception dates, or have a really good idea about your body cycles and biorhythms, and all that jazz, you could probably have more idea what to expect. But if you're like me, and don't notice you're pregnant for two months, and only after your husband has been insisting for weeks that you're pregnant, (just like the first pregnancy), then perhaps depending on being that in touch with your body is a tad bit unrealistic.
3. The baby might be late. Or early. Just to further throw off that two-week window. So, really, there's about a month, conservatively, where the baby might pop out, where it would be totally nothing to worry about.

Again, I'm a planning sort of girl. So this fuzzy logic is hard for my brain to wrap itself around. And I've found that not saying the due date over and over helps remind me, every time people ask, that I really do not know when this girl is coming. I do not have any control over it.

So sorry if I seem a little rude or secretive or whatever. Dyami thinks I'm a little irrational over this point. It just seems part of our culture's weird fixation with exactitude in this area that does not lend itself to exactitude.

And, if you're wondering, the baby should be here by Halloween. I think.


Diana said...

I've always found it so nice that whenever I ask (which is often, not because I don't care but because I DO care but seem to have been overtaxing my brain with all this child-raising nonsense) you give this pleasant general window. It makes it seem like having a baby is just the most natural thing in the world. Which I guess it kind of is.

Heather said...

Thanks, Diana. I'm glad it makes me seem all relaxed. Ironically.
Personally, I think having a baby is the most bizarre thing ever. I mean, really.