Isn't it exciting when a close friend or family member is expecting a baby? When her estimated date of delivery (EDD) starts to get close, you might spend time everyday wondering how she's doing, if there are any signs of labor, and when the heck that baby will actually be born! You may even start to worry; is everything ok? Why haven't I heard from her? What happens if she doesn't go into labor at all? So, multiply those feelings by about, I don't know, infinity, and that's exactly how the mama-to-be is feeling too. The end of pregnancy is usually a very emotional time for expectant families and, as their friends, the best thing you can do is offer snippets of support and encouragement that ask nothing in return.
Most first time labors begin spontaneously after the EDD, and many low-risk mothers will be allowed by their providers to put off induction until closer to 42 weeks. So, if you start texting your friend at 37 weeks asking her if she's still pregnant, you could be doing that for 5 weeks! It can make her feel like she's doing something wrong, even though it is totally normal and healthy to carry a baby beyond the EDD.
If you're friend DOESN'T go into labor on her own before 42 weeks, she will probably be induced at the hospital using medication. This decision is normally based on the evidence that babies born after 42 weeks have a higher rate of stillbirth and other complications. Some inductions are easy peasy and the mom goes into the hospital and has a baby in her arm 6 hours later, and others can take days. I mean, literally, DAYS! This is another time to leave your friend alone, and allow her to do the hard physical and emotional work of giving birth. It is normal, and even safe and good, for inductions to take a long time. Your friend will be ok.
So now I've totally freaked you out and you're thinking, "Well, is there anything I CAN say?!" Here are some tried and true options for simple ways to stay in touch with your friend as her due date approaches, and passes by:
- Thinking of you.
- I am here if you need anything.
- Your baby is so lucky to have you.
- You're taking such good care of your baby.
- You can do this.
- Every day that goes by means you're one day closer to meeting your baby.
- I would like to bring you dinner/drop off cookies/take you out for ice cream.
Try to offer support without asking any questions. Most women hit a breaking point at the end of their pregnancies, and become extremely physically uncomfortable with heightened emotions and sensitivities. And if you send her the dreaded, "Have you had that baby yet?" text, she'll probably send you here.
You know your friend best. Think about what would make her feel safe, loved, and comfortable during this strange time of mystery and waiting. She'll thank you later. Or she won't, but that's not why we do good, is it? <3
The stars appear each night in the sky. All is well.