“When’s your due date??”
Ah, I can’t even count how many times I’ve answered that question over the course of my three pregnancies.
With my first two babies, I didn’t think twice about sharing my due date when people asked.
But I realized that focusing on my due date led to me thinking of the date as a guaranteed rather than more of a general guess. So this time, I decided to do things differently.
This pregnancy, no one knows my due date, and here’s why.
1. It makes time go by so. Slowly.
There’s nothing that makes time go by more slowly than talking about it constantly. Every time you have to say how many weeks you are, it’s a reminder of what a long way you have to go until your pregnancy is over.
The same goes for those weekly bumpdates! Sure they might be fun to look back on, but watching the weeks slowly tick by doesn’t do much for your pregnant psyche. Your time is better spent preparing for birth in one of these productive ways!
2. Babies are almost never born on their due date.
The whole concept of a due date is kind of a ridiculous notion to begin with. Did you know only about 5% or less of babies are born on their due date? Babies come when they are ready, they aren’t paying any attention to the date on the calendar.
If you want to be hard core about it, you could ask your provider to not tell you what your due date is! Let them know when they ask for the date of your last period that you just want to know generally when you’re due.
Getting an estimation like “the end of July or perhaps the beginning of August” will really help you curb your expectations for the end of pregnancy in a way that’s hard to do on your own, even if you’ve kept your due date a secret from everyone else.
3. Due dates create too much pressure.
Focusing on your due date creates this unrealistic expectation that the baby will definitely be out by that day. When that date comes and goes, you feel discouraged, frustrated, and somehow like you’re letting people down who are waiting so expectantly for baby news.
Yes, sometimes babies come three weeks early. But usually not. Especially for first time moms, you’ll create a far healthier outlook for yourself if you don’t put too much stock in whatever date the doctor gives you. It’s more than likely that you’ll go past your due date!
4. Secret due dates mean no obnoxious calls and texts
If people don’t know what day you’re due, there will be no irritating calls or texts from people wondering why you haven’t had the baby yet the moment the clock ticks past midnight on your due date. You might have some people who start to get a little anxious once the calendar flips over to the month that you’re due, but for all they know you could be due March 1st or March 30th.
5. You might have a safer and easier delivery
Not knowing or not sharing your due date could actually help you have a safer and easier labor! So many women I know, including myself, put so much stock in that due date.
It’s quite mentally difficult to go past your due date, especially if you’ve been focusing on it as a guaranteed finish line for your pregnancy. When the due date comes and goes, you get frustrated because you thought you’d be done by now and it can feel rather hopeless. At this point, who knows when the baby will come?? You feel like you could be pregnant for years.
A lot of women will wind up asking to be induced at this point. They are just so done, and all of that pressure and expectation they put on the due date makes them feel entitled to have the pregnancy over and done with.
So they have an induction, which has risks of it’s own, and it can easily lead to more and more interventions in the labor and delivery process, which equals more and more risk. It can even result in an emergency C-section if you fail to progress with her induction. All that could have been potentially avoided if she hadn’t focused on her due date so much!
If you’re desperate to not be pregnant anymore, lots of women swear by the Midwives Brew!
What if people ask about your due date?
If you took the advice above and asked your doctor not to give you a due date, this part is easy! Most people are satisfied when you tell them the month that you’re expecting baby. For people who press further, you might get some funny looks if you tell them that you don’t know, but at least they can’t really press you for any more information!
If you do know your due date, it’s still pretty easy to deflect when people want to know an exact day.
My conversations with people usually go something like this:
THEM: “Oh! Your expecting, congratulations! When are you due?”
ME: “Thank you! I’m due in March.”
THEM: “What day in March?”
ME: “Oh, just sometime in March. Due dates are silly!”
People usually accept that response and move on. I haven’t had anyone get upset with me for choosing not to share.
How to Plan for Family Visits Without a Due Date
If people who are close to you want to know more exact dates for “planning” purposes, you can remind them that there’s really no planning when it comes to the timing of when you’ll have the baby. Even if you tell them the exact date you’re due, the baby could easily arrive two weeks before or two weeks after! It’s best for everyone if they just accept a certain level of the unknown concerning baby’s arrival!
If you have family traveling in from far away to see the baby, that’s hard! You might really want your mom to be at the birth but she has to buy plane tickets weeks or months ahead of time. There’s still no point in sharing your actual due date with her, because you just don’t know!
I would definitely recommend directing them to come later rather than sooner. I’ve seen too many grandmas fly across the country to spend a week with her 39 weeks pregnant daughter hoping that she’ll have the baby during the visit, only to have to return home disappointed, without having even met the baby because the pregnancy went overdue.
Worse yet, you might feel pressure to have an early induction just because your family is there to meet the baby!
If you plan a visit for when you’re 41 weeks or later, at least she’s nearly guaranteed to be around to help out and spend time with the baby, even if she doesn’t get to be at the birth!
Embrace the Uncertainty
Pregnancy is already likely to be one of the most trying experiences of your life. In my opinion, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to take a little pressure off and forget about that due date.
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Melinda worked with children for years in a professional setting before becoming a full-time stay at home mom. She currently has three young children, and enjoys sharing tips and ideas about parenting and how to manage a home with excellence. She’s been featured on Heathline and Her View From Home.