Having been pregnant for some 38 weeks now (this leaves 0-4 weeks to go, for the non-mathematically inclined among you), I have gathered many a suggestion for the suggestion box I imagine one encounters at the end of this little exercise. I assume the labor nurses bring it by in the hospital as they’re foot printing one’s squishy new babe. And I want to be ready, so I’m compiling some notes here.

1) First things first: there really ought to be an indicator light of some sort. As all the books will tell you, those first few days and weeks of a pinhead-sized-fetus’s life are very important, development-wise. This is when you need to be taking folic acid and not slamming tequila shots and other important things. So why should a woman not have any idea when it’s go time? I saw on tv that unfixed female wolves act pregnant for a few days everytime they’re in heat, whether or not they are actually pregnant. Not a bad idea, but not so practical for the human lady. And thus, why not an indicator light? You wake up in the morning, check the light — maybe stowed discreetly beneath an armpit or on the inside of a thigh — and voila, it’s glowing blue and you know to lay off the sushi.

2) Evolutionarily speaking, doesn’t morning sickness seem like sort of a bad idea? Now I’m no scientist, but again, those beginning weeks and months are important to baby’s development, so why are so many mothers-to-be curled up nibbling saltines for so long? Shouldn’t we be robustly craving spinach and liver? I’m just saying.

3) Whoever is in charge of such things really ought to do a better job of matching up babies and mothers. It’s just sort of silly to place a 10-lb baby in a tiny-hipped lady and then tell her to push it out. Similarly, those tall women with room to spare and miniature little babies? Waste of real estate. There has got to be a more efficient way to deal with this.

4) While I don’t love the sleeplessness of the third trimester, I can at least accept that it sort of prepares you for the interrupted sleep of life with a newborn. I get it. I don’t condone it per se, but at least it sort of makes sense. What doesn’t make sense, however, is how one has no idea when the baby plans on being born. Did you know that only 5% of babies are born on their due dates? Being born at anywhere from 38-42 weeks gestation is considered normal, which gives you a ONE MONTH WINDOW, people. One month. And let’s not forget that many of the so-called signs of early labor are things that you just feel normally at this point: back ache, cramping, spaciness, restlessness.  Pah. Meanwhile, the mother-to-be tosses and turns, wakes up thinking “Did I pack enough socks in my hospital bag?,” pees every eight minutes or so, wonders how many plans to make or projects to start or how far to be from home at any given moment… you get the idea.


On the up side, there is plenty of time, during these waiting stages, to work on suggestions for next time.

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AMY SHEARN is the author of the novel How Far Is the Ocean from Here. She lives in Brooklyn with a husband, a baby, and a dog. Visit her online at amyshearn.com.

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