Our fall favorites are here! 🍂

When we learned the due date (May 27th) for the baby I am carrying, my husband looked at me and smiled. He said cheerfully “Let’s just plan on sometime in early June.” Both of our children were born a few days after their due dates and he knows that date is more of an estimate than a prediction. After all, only 5% of babies actually arrive on their due dates.

 Although I know all this, I could only manage a weak smile in response to his comment. I experienced so much morning sickness in those early months that imagining continuing the pregnancy for any longer than the official due date seemed more than I could accept. As my pregnancy continued I tried to adjust my mindset to a “birth date range” rather than a “due date.” I felt confident as I entered the third trimester that I had done this and calmly told friends and family that I wanted our baby to stay in as long as she needed to, even if she went past the due date.

And then I ate my words.

As my due date neared I carefully groomed our home and family life for our little girl’s arrival. Nursery – check. House clean and organized – check. Freezer meals – check. To-do list complete – check. Everything felt streamlined, bright and welcoming. We enjoyed our evenings together playing as a family of four, sure that any second all of this would change. I felt reassured of a timely arrival by the many uncomfortable contractions I was experiencing so much earlier than I had with my other two babies.

Each night I went to bed with the bright anticipation that those contractions would bring me my baby. Each morning I found myself still pregnant, but I staunchly stuck to my positive thinking. When I arrived at my due date with a well-occupied belly, I mustered all my optimism and decided to make some dark chocolate cream pie to distract me. Surely any minute now.

The next few mornings I did not feel quite as cheerful.

Day 1 post-due date: I woke up disappointed.

Day 2: I awoke discouraged.

Day 3: Mildly depressed.

And by day 4, I was livid.

I am not typically an angry person. But man, after waking throughout the night with some strong contractions that did not land me in the hospital (for something like the 6th night) I just felt furious.

I realize how ridiculous it sounds for me to feel this way. And honestly, it has surprised me that I do. But I also know a lot of my friends have described riding an emotional roller coaster after passing their due dates baby-less. Let’s examine why this might be.

For starters, there is all the terminology we use in western obstetrical culture. Well-meaning friends ask me in sympathetic voices “Well were you late with your other two?” If you are asking if they were born after their due dates, then yes. But let’s think about the implications of the word “late” in our culture. The word typically designates under-performance, an irresponsible person, a slacker.

“Were you dilated at your appointment? Are you progressing??” Progressing means moving forward, succeeding. Lack of progression implies lack of effort, inadequacy or inability.

“Wow, your body has a hard time getting to delivery, doesn’t it?!”

“Did you try x, y, z trick to induce labor?”

And now suddenly I feel three things: First, that the fact that my baby has not arrived within a specific 24 hour period after nearly 10 months of comfortably cooking inside me is somehow problematic and worrisome. Second, that this tragedy of not hitting my due date is somehow my fault. My body is not competent, prepared or relaxed enough to nail this performance on cue. And third, that the arrival date of my baby is something I am capable of somehow dictating with any number of wives’ tale tips and tricks. (Believe me, I have tried them all and am still pregnant.) Turns out all of these take-home messages are entirely false and more than a little disheartening to a full-term mama.

Can we all lay off me and my uterus for a minute while we examine some facts?

Statistics show that, as mentioned earlier, only 5% of babies are born on their due dates. That means  95% are not. Why would this be? Well, the due date “calculation” assumes that every woman has a 28 day cycle and ovulates on the 14th day of her cycle. A study published in 2000 indicates that only 30% of women match the “fertile window” indicated by current clinical guidelines. Most are fertile before this window or after it. If you deliver before or after the “due date,” it may be because you are one of the 70% of women who have a fertile window that does not match the measure used by the medical community.

Additionally, babies are considered “term” anytime between 37 and 42 weeks. That is a five week window for a healthy, normal, birth. A baby is not technically “overdue” until after 42 weeks. In fact, babies born between 39 weeks and 41 weeks have the best health outcomes, according to The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

So why all the panic when a woman reaches 40 weeks and the baby is still comfortably cuddled inside? Well, folks, any “term” pregnant lady has endured the better part of a year carrying her child with this date as her motivating finish line. And friends, families, often even doctors constantly remind her that this date is the goal. What if we were to change the terminology? Some childbirth educators now help to mentally prepare expectant mothers by referring to her “due month” rather than her “due date.” The term is certainly more accurate and would take a lot of pressure off mamas during the final stretch of pregnancy.

From now on, I will think of due dates with a two to three week padding on either side. Due month. I like it. In the days since I adjusted my mind set on this I have felt a lot of peace about allowing this babe to enter the world when she feels ready. Will you join me? Perhaps we can start to change the culture and in doing so help a few mamas avoid what I have come to refer to as “due date rage.”

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Allison Maselli

Allison is an adventurer at heart—living her greatest adventure so far in her own home.  Connecting with her inner self, her fellow man, and God bring Allison her greatest joys. She is a seeker of stillness, lover of the arts, and a dark chocolate advocate. Join her at https://findingmyhappyathome.com/ to read some of her thoughts on being a woman, building a family, and striving to be a good citizen of this earth. You can also follow her on Facebook.

The Letting Go Happens Tooth by Tooth

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy smiling missing a tooth

There is something about a toothless grin. Not the gummy smile of infancy, but the wide-gapped delight of a child who has newly lost a tooth. Today’s was not the first tooth my son has lost—the first was over a year ago—but today, the fifth tooth, was a top one, and today his smile seemed to announce with an oh, so in my face clarity, that he and I had better make room for adulthood (or at least, pre-tweendom?). He is shedding his babyhood. Those teeth that kept me up at night on their way in have outgrown their use....

Keep Reading

To the Parents Facing a Child’s Illness: You Are Strong

In: Grief, Kids, Motherhood
Toddler with cast and IV looking out window

If you are the parents who just sat for hours in a cold doctor’s office to hear that your child has a life-threatening illness, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who can’t bring yourself to decorate or celebrate the unknown because you don’t know if they’ll ever come home, you are so strong.  If you are the parents who travel or relocate to deliver your child in one of the best hospitals with hopes it will change the outcome, you are so strong. If you are the parents who learn all the medical terminology so you understand...

Keep Reading

I Am a Mother Evolving

In: Grown Children, Kids, Motherhood, Teen
Mother and child walking by water in black and white photo

Those who mean well squawk the refrain— “The days are long, but the years are short.” They said I would miss it— little feet and newborn baby smell nursing in the wee hours with a tiny hand clutching mine. Tying shoes,  playing tooth fairy,  soothing scary dreams. They were fine times, but I do not wish them back. RELATED: Mamas, Please Quit Mourning Your Children Growing Up I rather enjoy these days of my baby boy suddenly looking like a young man in a baseball uniform  on a chilly Wednesday in April. And my Amazonian teenage girl  with size 11...

Keep Reading

Kids Need Grace and So Do Their Moms

In: Faith, Kids, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman touching child's forehead

We were having a hard morning. Our house was overrun with toys, I hadn’t had a chance to get dressed, and my stress level was increasing by the minute. To top it all off, my 3-year-old was having a meltdown anytime I spoke to her. Even looking in her general direction was a grave mistake. It was one of those days that as a parent, you know you’re really in for it. I was quickly losing my patience. My frustration began to ooze out of me. I snapped orders, stomped around, and my attitude quite clearly was not pleasant to...

Keep Reading

As a Nurse, This Is How I Prepared My Daughter for Her First Period

In: Kids, Motherhood, Teen, Tween
Woman wearing sunglasses with hands on the sides of her face and smiling, black and white photo

I don’t remember my first period, which means my mother had me well prepared. This doesn’t mean I was okay with it. I remember feeling awkward and tense each time. And honestly, for many years, shopping for feminine hygiene products filled me with unease. But wait a minute! There shouldn’t be anything shameful about something that will recur for about half of a woman’s life! Who decided it was to be a sensitive subject? Aren’t we all supposed to show empathy toward each other when it comes to this?  I say, pass the Midol around, sister! I knew the time...

Keep Reading

With Grandkids, It’s The Little Things

In: Kids, Living, Motherhood
Nine children sitting on a couch together

We had just pulled into the driveway when our youngest grandtwins, 3-year-old Ellis and Brady, came running out the front door and down the steps to hug us. “Let me see your earrings, Grandma,” Ellis said, reaching up to pull me down to his level. “The green M&Ms!  I told you, Brady!” “Those are the ones our brother Adler picked out for you!” Brady yelled as he ushered us into the house and started going through the tote bag I always carry for them, filled with favorite books from our house and three little bags of snacks in the bottom....

Keep Reading

Childhood Is Not a Race

In: Kids, Motherhood, Tween
Two young girls playing in creek bed, color photo

Sweet child, I know you want to grow up. You want to get older and do more and more. I see you changing day after day. You are no longer a little girl, but you’re turning into a young lady. You’re becoming this wonderful person who leads and cares for others. It’s a beautiful thing to watch. But don’t rush out of your childhood. It’s this beautiful season where wonder and discovery live. It’s this beautiful time when you don’t have to carry the weight of adulthood. It’s this beautiful time. Savor it. Slow down and enjoy it. Breathe in...

Keep Reading

There’s Something Special about Band Kids

In: Kids

There is something incredibly special about band kids. The hours of practice that begin in elementary school. It’s the squeaking and squawking of a new alto or the flutter of early flute days, high-pitched honks from a trumpet, constant and consistent tapping . . . drumming on everything. And gallons of spit too, until one day a few years down the road, you realize all that practice time has turned into an incredible melody and skill. The alarm that goes off at 5:35 a.m., and before most people are awake, band kids have sleepily found a quick breakfast bite, grabbed...

Keep Reading

You’ll Grow So Much In Kindergarten and I Can’t Wait to Watch

In: Kids
Two young children in backpacks walk toward a school building

On her seventh day of school, my kindergartener doesn’t cry. It was a long road to this day. For the first six days of school, we experienced varying degrees of screaming, clinging, running back inside our house and slamming the door, and expressing general displeasure with the whole idea of school. “I wanna stay home with YOU, Mommy!” “But Charlotte, you are bored out of your mind every day of the summer. You hate it.” “No I don’t. I LOVE IT.” “Well we can spend every afternoon after school and all weekend together. You’ll be tired of me in five...

Keep Reading

Six Feels So Much Bigger

In: Child, Kids, Motherhood
Little girl with horse, color photo

Six . . . Six is only one number more than five,  one grade, one year . . . but it feels so different. Five is baby teeth and new beginnings. Five is venturing out into the world, maybe making a friend. Meeting a teacher. Learning to ride a bike. Six took my breath away. Six looks like a loose front tooth—tiny and wiggly, soon to be replaced by a big tooth, one that will stay forever. Six looks like a bright purple bike zooming down the driveway. RELATED: When There Are No More Little Girls’ Clothes Six looks like playing...

Keep Reading