This is the longest I have ever been pregnant-almost 41 weeks. I didn’t expect to carry this baby this far past his due date. Many of my friends and family were convinced that this baby was going to come before Easter…a week later he has proved them wrong. One of the most interesting things that I have learned this pregnancy, is that there is a protein that gets excreted from the baby’s lungs which signals labor to start. It reminds me that God is in every little detail, even when I feel the world is spinning out of control.
During the past few weeks, I have received countless comments from well-wishers about still being pregnant. I know that they were well meant, but after a while, it does get tiring and sometimes makes me feel like I am doing something wrong that the baby isn’t here. I am going to use this feeling to better communicate with friends of mine who are pregnant, ready and waiting for their baby to arrive. I thought I’d share some of my insights.
What not to say/ what to say instead:
“You’re still pregnant? ” or “No baby yet?”
First off-even if a woman is still heavily pregnant, saying this does nothing for her self esteem at this point. Most women I know, still look pregnant after delivery-so tread carefully.
“You are looking great! How are you feeling?”
Every woman (though she may deny it in her response) wants to know she looks great. I have a wonderful friend who every time she sees me, tells me how cute I look. It does a world of good.
“Are you ok?”
This can put the momma in a very defensive mood or position and is a very effective conversation shut down.
“How are you feeling?”
This is a more open question and allows the momma to express what is going on. She may be tired, stressed, in pain, or just ready for the baby to come. She can choose how to respond according to the level of friendship between you.
“You haven’t popped, yet?”
Put yourself in her shoes for a moment. This beautiful woman has been carrying a baby in her for close to or past 9 months. Most likely she feels huge already, this comment again does nothing to help that momma feel good about herself.
“I’m praying for you.” Or affirm her beauty.
This is more encouraging for her to hear, and maybe just what she needs to hear that day.
Other ways to encourage:
Pray for them!
Ask if they have specific prayer needs at this time. If they can’t think or any, you can say you are praying for them that they have:
- Rest– this is a big one. The last final weeks are a dozy when it comes to rest. I know that sleep is restless at best and during the day I find myself exhausted. Especially since I have 2 other children I am taking care of during the day.
- Energy– again a good one-especially for moms who already have kids they are chasing around. Also, that they are able to get done what they want to get done everyday.
- Comfort (relief of pain)– I have lived through pain 2 out of my 3 pregnancies. Thankfully, this pregnancy the pain has been controllable, but my second pregnancy there were times I could hardly walk, I was in so much pain. Most pregnant women have some discomfort, and it tends to show more the last few weeks.
- Peace (relief from stress)– the unknown of what is going to come can be stressful-even if there is a planned delivery method, it is stressful for the mom. For us, we have had added stress with the lack of job for my husband. The stress not only affects me and my husband, but the boys feed off it too.
Find ways to help them:
- Bring them a meal or gift card to a take out place close by. There are many days I have had no energy and cooking has been the last thing I want to even think of doing. If someone asked, hey, what is it your family loves or will eat that I can bring by, I would give them a definite answer! Even just swinging by a grocery store and picking up a rotisserie chicken, rolls, and veggies, is a great meal for anyone (think ahead and bring paper plates, so it is one less item to wash). The simpler the better-esp if they have picky eaters in their house. Find out what their favorite take out place is, and bless them with a gift card.
- Volunteer to watch their kids at your place or take them to a park for a morning. There have been times, where I just don’t want to see my boys. I love them dearly don’t get me wrong, but here is where the lack of energy comes into play-I sometimes don’t have the energy to be on top of every little thing that sets them off. A change of scenery is good for the kids as well.
- Depending on how comfortable you are in your relationship-offer to help clean their house. Even if it is to vacuum 1 room or get down and dirty and clean a bathroom.
- Write them a note. Let the know how much you are thinking of them and praying for them. Even telling them how much they mean to you.
What other ways can you think of encouraging a mom who is ready to meet their little one?