I have a theory about sleeping when you’re pregnant.
We all know that having kids means saying goodbye to lie-in’s until they are at least 13 years old, if you are lucky you might get a toddler who sleeps until 7 or 8 but from what I’ve heard I need to get used to sleep deprivation for at least the first 3 to 6 months and then after take what I can get. Fine, I am prepared for this and in all honestly I don’t think I will appreciate how bad it will be until i’m living it, so ignorance is bliss as far as I am concerned.
However I didn’t think about sleeping when I was pregnant. The first 12 weeks all I did was sleep, then I think I had 3 or 4 weeks of normal bedtimes (10pm to 6am) and then after this the loo breaks started. If I am lucky I will wake up once to use the bathroom, if I am unlucky 3 times. In between bathroom breaks between 16 and 20 weeks I was getting headaches several times a week which would wake me up and backache (both seemed to come together) A quick rub of 4Head and a re-juggle of my sleeping position and I would be back to sleep relatively quickly but it did occur to me around this time that I hadn’t actually slept through the night undisturbed for at least a month.
Once the headaches died down I was then waking up between the loo breaks to either roll back onto my side – for some reason now I am pregnant my body loves being on it’s back and this is not a great position due to baby resting on the main artery that takes blood round your body apparently. So I would sporadically wake up to re-adjust and roll onto my side.
At this point I have probably not slept undisturbed since June. But that’s ok, because i’m not really suffering because of it. I also have no idea really how much sleep I actually get due to the fact that I consciously don’t ever check the time. This is something I adapted late last year when I was suffering from anxiety and had regular panic attacks about not getting to sleep, which obviously stopped me getting to sleep! By not knowing how much sleep I actually got I was able to deal with it better.
So I haven’t had an undisturbed nights sleep since June, and I’m fine. How can this be? 12 months ago if I got anything less than 7 hours deep sleep I would be a walking zombie the next day, if I had less than 6 hours I would feel physically sick. So how am I now functioning on little to no deep deep sleep?
Here’s my theory – it’s another built in side effect of pregnancy and it is our bodies preparing us for the sleep deprivation needed to raise a baby. Slowly over 6 months our body is gearing us up to not sleep properly again for the foreseeable future. It knows that even after we are no longer feeding on demand or waking to soothe a crying toddler we will be waking at the slightest noise of our offspring (Did I just hear little Bobby dropping Mr Snuggles on the floor? I better go and check) and lying awake waiting for our teenage spawn to roll through the door at midnight hopefully not, but probably, drunk.
During pregnancy our bodies are preparing us for motherhood.
To prove this fact I will use last night as an example: I cooked a chilli con carne and I used a little too much chili. Now I love chili but chili does not like me and once I had gotten over the immediate heartburn I thought that would be the end of it. It wasn’t. 11.30pm and I was rudely awoken by a tummy ache, the type that only a long visit to the loo will sort out. So off I go, book in hand ready to deal with the issue, which I did relatively quickly and went back to bed where I read my book until the tummy ache had passed.
Sometime around 2.30am I was awoken again, and this time the pain was worse, and I knew it would be bad. Half an hour later and with the help of my yoga breathing exercises (sorry if it’s TMI) I made it back upstairs. I have no idea how long I laid there but I did eventually get to sleep after a 3rd but slightly shorter trip to the loo in the early hours of the morning.
I then woke up to my 6.15 alarm and after snoozing for a little longer than usual got up and went to work. I probably slept for maybe 4 or 5 hours in total but yet i feel fine. 12 months ago I would have resigned myself to a sick day by 3am or at least gone to work feeling like death warmed up. But instead I am sat at my desk at 4pm and I don’t feel much different, except for being a bit delicate in the tummy department!
I am adapting, and coping, remarkably well if I do say so myself. So thank you body and nature, with you by my side I know we will be ready to tackle motherhood in all it’s sleep deprived glory! Oh and pass the coffee!