"Oooo when are you due?" 3 weeks I reply. "Oooo poor you. You'd better sleep now as you will never sleep again!".
Thanks, that is just what I need at 37 weeks pregnant with a mini person swimming around in my tummy, and are already terrified (and excited) about how I am possibly going to bring my first child into the world.
What is it with the negativity that swirls around about your impending child and that you will never sleep again? Or the negativity about how much your birth will hurt and that you will never be the same again?
I want to share a little story with you. Just two weeks before my due date a man, and yes, I highlight the fact that it was a middle aged male, stopped me in the street and said to me "just letting you know that I have experienced it...the birth...it is horrific". Okkk! I thought to myself, thanks for the encouragement!! I asked him whether it was a normal birth and if the baby and mother were healthy - he said both were absolutely fine and the birth went smoothly. So as I walked away questions started to consume my head - How was it that painful for you? Could this whole childbirth thing really be that bad? How come it was so bad for the man? How do women ever go through it more than once?
I thought I'd wait to reserve judgement until I could form my own opinion.
A couple of weeks later I went into labour, and yes, it did hurt, but luckily for me a friend recommended I hire a tens machine which was very effective at reducing labour pains, and I was fortunate to have the choice of pain management options when I arrived in the hospital. I was absolutely fine - and believe me, I'm a pretty big chicken when it comes to anything that involves needles, hospitals or blood. I got through the birth and although I found the breastfeeding very difficult to start with, and the relentless and constant feeding schedule (that nobody ever told me about) pretty tiring, we did get through those early weeks relatively unscathed.
Now onto the sleep front. I think it tired me out more being constantly asked about how I was sleeping and coping with a newborn. Yes, getting up in the middle of the night wasn't my favourite time to feed, particularly being woken up when you are in that fully relaxed deep sleep when you can hardly lift a limb. However, without the pressure of doing much the next day (I was lucky enough to be able to take some time off work) it really is do-able and doesn't last forever. Lets also not forget that the more hours you spend awake, the more time you can stare at your beautiful little bundle that you have brought into the world.
Maybe we were lucky as the 2-3 hour sleeping blocks slowly spread to about 4 hour blocks by about 10 weeks, then 5 to 6 hours by about 14 weeks. By about 4-5 months we were getting a decent sleep again. I know this doesn't happen for everybody, however there really is light at the end of the tunnel. I promise that you will sleep again, and it is amazing how your body is able to adapt to different coping mechanisms with very little sleep.
Just hang in there! x