In case you missed it, I sit here at 36 weeks pregnant this morning. And clearly I've reached some sort of physical threshold with this burgeoning belly, because just this last weekend the instances of "When are you due, again?" have increased greatly - as in, everyone I see asks me this question, where it used to just be the few friends who actually cared when the baby was coming and honestly couldn't remember. Now the question means, "Wow, your belly is so big, clearly you're about to go into labor right here and I'm kind of hoping I'm not here when it happens - so just let me know if things start to feel weird and I'll bug out."
I'm 36 weeks pregnant.
For the record, that leaves me at a month away from my due date (or week, because a date is just unnecessary false hope) and, for further record, if this baby is anything like my last, I'm really about five or six weeks away from delivering (which puts me at four weeks away from, "Still in there?!" - no, I just like carrying basketballs under my shirt, it's so much more efficient). Which means six weeks of telling anyone and everyone I meet when this baby is supposed to come, it's a girl, no we don't have a name (at least not one we're sharing yet) and I'm still feeling ok and how excited we are or how ready I am for this even to transpire.
And can I be honest?
Half of what I say is a load of poo. I don't really mean it - I'm trying to gauge how you want me to respond so this umpteenth conversation about my pregnancy can end as quickly as possible. I'll tell you I feel ok because you don't want to hear about my woes, my sleepless nights or the bladder that's killing me. Conversely, if I can tell you think it's time this pregnancy were over, I'll totally agree and say I'm miserable, which I'm not, really, just a little uncomfortable sometimes. I'll say we're excited if you seem excited or say I'm nervous if you seem apprehensive about the fact that we're bringing home a fourth baby a mere few weeks after our youngest turns two (and I won't dare admit how excited I am that that's our largest gap between babies). Honestly, I just want you to go away and stop focusing on the protruding belly between us.
It's not that I don't love you. I do. I'm just done. This ain't my first rodeo and this fourth round of pregnant small talk is killing the introvert inside (ok, let's be honest, I hated it the first time) who yearns for deep conversation of any kind and does not thrive on the platitudes of well-meaning strangers and acquaintances. I understand this globe of a stomach is an obvious conversation starter but if you have nowhere to go from there, maybe just keep walking. I'd be ok with that, really.
And if you must address the elephant in the room, I'd recommend a simple, "We're looking forward to meeting her!", maybe a friendly belly rub (if you're daring - I know some moms hate it and, yes, it's awkward, but I'm totally used to it by now and at least makes me feel as though the my belly isn't an unwelcome addition to the room) and be done. No questions, no anecdotes about your sister's boyfriend's cousin who went two months past her due date (it's not helpful), just some loving encouragement.
Thank you and have a nice day.
This message brought to you by your friendly neighborhood pregnant lady.