Stage 1 - Denial (Weeks 26-27):
Even though your pregnancy books and apps all tell you that the 3rd trimester does not begin until Week 28, you go ahead and start counting yourself as “in the homestretch” around week 26 when you grow tired of telling people you have three months to go and watching them try to suppress their horror because when they asked your due date, they were certain you were going to say “next week!” given that you look a bit like a dairy cow wearing an empire-waist shirt. Whatever, you’ll be considered full term in 12 weeks, and what does counting ahead a week or two really matter? It’s not a race. There are no medals for absolute accuracy. You’re pretty sure you ovulated a few days early that month anyway. Jeez.
Stage 2 - Anger (Weeks 28-30):
You have to go to the doctor every two weeks now and wait around for 45 minutes just to have someone hold a tape measure to your belly and mumble that you’re “measuring a little big” and maybe should lay off the cream cheese. Your pelvis feels like it’s splitting in half whenever you walk more than a block, your maternity shirts ride up above your protruding belly-button, and after nightly dreams in which you give birth to a two-headed spaghetti squash in the back of an Uber X, you pop awake at 4am and can’t fall back asleep until 25 minutes before your alarm is set to go off. Pregnancy fucking sucks and you are never doing this shit again.
Stage 3 - Bargaining (Weeks 31-33):
Of course you want a healthy, full-term baby born with zero complications…but if maybe you could experience a minor foible, something that is truly nothing but that the medical establishment chooses to handle with an excess of caution to avoid a malpractice lawsuit, just so you would have to be on bed-rest for the next week or maybe three, that would be great. Really not even like *real* bed-rest, more like light bed-rest, like the kind of bed-rest that means you can still go to Target to shop for a cute diaper caddy that matches your pink-and-navy chevron nursery décor, and you can even go for tapas with your best friend for her birthday on Saturday and maybe have half a glass of sangria, but you just can’t do anything strenuous, like empty the dishwasher or go to work, that would be awesome, OK?
Stage 4 - Depression (Weeks 34-36):
Your toddler has brought home a new strain of the Preschool Plague every week for the past month, and the inability to breathe through your nose has moved your 4am wake-up time back to midnight. One of the six slices of that Meat Lover’s Deluxe pizza you ate on Tuesday upset your tummy and aggravated your hemorrhoids, making it hard to sit, stand or walk without audibly swearing at God. Your early morning Googling reveals that Sudafed, Imodium, and Preparation H are all on the list of things that pregnant women might be allowed to take, but probably shouldn’t, because no one has bothered to test to see if they are likely to trigger premature labor or give your baby ADHD. You’re fat, exhausted, and miserable, and the only thing anyone can say to you is, “just wait til the baby arrives,” as if the guaranteed prospect of being more downtrodden and depressed in two months is supposed to magically lift your spirits and send you skipping off to pre-natal yoga classes while singing “Zippity Doo Da” with manic glee. Your husband’s a dick, your friends are all assholes, and you’re going back to bed with a bowl of mac n’ cheese and a bottle of Tums.
Stage 5 - Acceptance (Weeks 37-40):
You have been pregnant forever. You were born this way and this is how it will always be. Even if someone hands you a baby and says it’s your son or daughter, you will remain pregnant with some ethereal being that will kick you in the ribs whenever you bend over to tie your shoes. You have always worn your husband’s gym shorts to the office, and you have never even seen your lady bits. Eating two breakfasts and three lunches is a normal human diet. You start to enjoy the license to make grunting noises when you sit down, and find that 2am is a great time to catch up on your laundry. You’re actually not ready for it to be over yet. Like some sadistic Buddha, Mother Nature will not let that baby come out until you have fully accepted your permanent pregnant status, so go ahead and schedule a pedicure for the weekend after your due date, and maybe plan to take a few vacation days from work so you can enjoy some solo time watching TLC on the couch. The moment you reach gestational nirvana, your mucus plug will fall out and labor will begin. Good luck.
Written by: Kathleen