As a baby’s due date draws closer, most women get to the point where they’ll do anything to bring their pregnancy to a happy end: From eating copious amounts of fruit to walking for miles to getting it on, there’s no shortage of ways we’ll attempt to induce labor.
One woman in China, though, found herself working in the opposite direction. She was due just days before China’s longstanding one-child policy was set to be reversed and was faced with a decision: go into labor on schedule and pay a ¥501,098 ($76,000) fine, or do everything possible to wait to give birth until after the new year began.
She chose the latter, and her baby, due on Dec. 26, did her mother a solid by complying and waiting to be born for five days until the year rolled over, and entered the world on Jan. 2. How did this mom manage it? Well, she remained motionless for five whole days to avoid an early or even on-time arrival. If you want to put off labor, it seems like a logical way to do it, especially since doctors frequently prescribe it to manage high-risk pregnancies and help the baby stay put.
A full-term baby is big enough, so it hurts our bits to imagine what this mom had to contend with once her waiting period was up.
This woman is presumably already a mother (hence all that waiting), so she’s likely already familiar with the trials of pregnancy and the number of things many of us put our bodies through to bring more little people in the world. Because here’s the thing about the beautiful magic of pregnancy: It still kind of sucks. Sometimes it more than kind of sucks.
It’s essentially nine months of worry and restriction that will end — in a best-case scenario — with a baby squeezing through what’s adorably called “the ring of fire” and maybe tearing up your vagina on the way out. And some women love pregnancy, and that’s great, but even if you are on Team Knocked Up, there’s no getting around the fact that for 40 weeks your body is not really your own. So let’s hand it to this mom for going, “eff it” and making that 41.
We will give up coffee, sweets, sushi, alcohol, cigarettes, sugar and a slew of other things to give our kids their best shot at a healthy, happy entry and a great start in life. We will get blood draws and swallow horse pills and drink nasty flat orange drink for glucose tests and vomit it all up later. We will have hemorrhoids and stretch marks and countless pelvic exams, and our hair will fall out, and we will never pee the same again.
We will push large things out of small places, allow people to cut us open and welcome the indignity of putting suppositories in place to poop again. Some people will do all of this, and then, a few years later, they’ll do it all over again.
We endure this stuff for any number of reasons, but one is pretty universal: for our kids. The sacrifices start early and never end, but we welcome them because they aren’t for us. This mom was probably way over pregnancy by the time she made her choice to self-impose bed rest, and going overdue can definitely be risky for both mom and baby.
But starting your child’s life nearly 100 large in the hole is no way to begin, and she knew that, so she did what she had to. Let’s hope that with the changing policy, women in China won’t have to make decisions like this one anymore.