Pregnancy Is Really 10 Months Long & Don't I F*****g Know It

Let's start by dispelling a longstanding myth: the duration of the average pregnancy is 10 months, not nine. I'm currently nearing the end of week 38, rapidly cruising towards my due date (week 40). I have been reading up on this, and there are a lot of convoluted explanations from doctors about why pregnancy is commonly considered to be nine months in duration (all months aren't an even four weeks long, blah blah) but let's be honest, if you were my boss and I told you I was going on holiday for 40 weeks, I'm relatively certain you would consider that 10 months off the clock. So please, give us pregnant women some credit and let's account for all 10 months of the struggle.

Here's another thing I have started to worry about: I'm beginning to have trouble remembering my pre-pregnancy identity. Every decision I have made for the better part of a year has been with my baby's best interest in mind. All of my friends have been referring to me as their “pregnant friend” for what feels like forever and almost every aspect of my life has shifted and changed to accommodate the fact that I am with child.

In a study released in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2009, Dr. Phillippa Lally and her team of researchers determined that it takes 66 days for a habit to become ingrained in the human brain, hence my concern that 267 days into my habit of wearing giant cotton underwear and complaining about heartburn, I might have actually forgotten who I was in my previous life as an autonomous being.

Will I even remember the non-elasticated clothes that I own? Will they ever fit me again? Will I remember how to put my socks on without the aid of the handy tool that my husband kindly bought me for Christmas?

At this point, I'm officially "full term" and this baby could be coming "any day now”. Let me tell you something; there are a lot of cruel tricks played on your mind and body throughout a pregnancy, but none crueller than knowing that the most life-changing thing possible is about to happen to you and only having a VERY loose three- to four-week timeframe during which this could reasonably happen.

267 days into my habit of wearing giant cotton underwear and complaining about heartburn, I might have actually forgotten who I was in my previous life

From about week 36 I have gone to bed every single night imagining that I will be jolted awake by sharp contractions and, every morning, I diligently plan my route to and from where I need to go by noting inconspicuous pitstop locations in the event that my waters break and I need to take cover.
My due date is February 13th, which initially gave me some false perception of a guideline – until I read the fun fact that only 5% of babies arrive on their due date. FIVE PERCENT! It seems like technology should have advanced by now to be able to shed a little more light... if scientists can figure out precise-enough timings to land a spacecraft ON A COMET moving at 135,000 km/h you'd THINK they might be able to nail down an accurate due date for a baby. Let's get on that, science!
So here we are: the waiting game. My hospital bag is packed (and by packed I mean there's an empty duffel bag on the floor with a multipack of Mini Cheddars and a phone charger thrown in). But it WILL be fully packed in the immediate future and then I will be officially on childbirth standby.

Our friends and family seem to have been on red alert far longer than I have though, because every interaction that I've had lately feels like a giant game of hot potato whereby I'm a ticking time bomb that could explode at any minute. Every time I call anyone I know, they answer the phone with barely concealed panic in their voice thinking this is THE CALL. If I change my posture suddenly or put a hand to my stomach, the person I'm sitting with nervously eyes me up, searching for other signs of "early labour".

And perhaps the strangest part of every interaction is that it always ends with the person saying “Well I guess this is the last time I'll see you before...” and then trailing off because really, there's no way to finish that sentence. The “after” could mean so many different things to brand-new parents that it’s really a waiting game to see how life (and relationships) will change.

My hospital bag is packed (and by packed I mean there's an empty duffel bag on the floor with a multipack of Mini Cheddars and a phone charger thrown in)

I've been asked a lot by people if I've felt anything that makes me think labour might be imminent and I always say I'm not sure. “But have you felt anything unusual?” Hey, now that you mention it, I HAVE felt a bit unusual...EVERY DAY FOR THE LAST 9 (and ½) MONTHS. Everything is unusual!

I wish there were more of an indication so that I could plan my life but as it stands, anyone's guess is as good as mine, which is why I'm finding it a bit difficult to relax. That's another thing people like to tell you to do: “Relax and put your feet up before the baby comes!” Here's the thing, they also love to tell you that once the baby comes you won't have any time for yourself for a long, long time. So it seems more obvious to me that now is NOT the time to put my feet up, but instead to work my ass off to get projects done, see the people I want to see, and do the things I want to do before our daughter arrives into this world.

There is an intense daily push/pull sensation of peak physical exhaustion at odds with my ambition to finish projects and enjoy the final moments of uninterrupted intimacy with my husband that is very hard to balance. Most days it's very hard not to just sit in a chair and stare at the wall waiting for the baby to arrive. But until that moment comes, if you need me I'll be over here going about my business as usual, comforted by the knowledge that sometime in the next 26 days I will have a baby. If not longer.

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