Pregnancy insomnia is all part of the journey, from the constant toilet trips, the aches and pains, to the struggle to find a sleep position that’s comfortable (especially if you’re a belly sleeper!). But finding yourself the only one awake at night can lead your mind down a terrifying path. Which only leaves us mums with even less sleep in the bank come baby’s arrival.
To help put your mind at ease, here are six (usually irrational) fears that are common to all expectant mums. Because sometimes, it’s nice to know you’re not the only one.
1. Something is wrong
Nothing can prepare you for the hypochondriac you can become during pregnancy, let alone when you are left with your own thoughts at night. From the aches and pain guessing game that has you doing late night internet logins to consult Dr Google to the battle against pregnancy brain when you’re trying to remember if you actually felt bub move that day… even if bub is currently playing football with your bladder.
Thanks to the introduction of social media, mums can take their late night medical fears to the masses, flooding private mum groups looking for advice and reassurance. Of course some fears are warranted. But what does sitting awake at night worrying really achieve?
2. Have I hurt baby?
Maybe you are a mum who had a few wild nights out drinking before you knew you were pregnant. Perhaps you gave into your sushi craving that day or can’t remember if you took your multivitamin that morning. The point is, if it is in the past, there isn’t a lot you can do right at this moment as you lay awake staring at your ceiling or clock. These are all things you may want to discuss with your doctor (or you probably already have) but I doubt he or she will welcome a pre-dawn call to check in.
3. Dangers of the world
Forgoing sleep to go over all the problems in the world is not a rational thing to do. Premiers, presidents and other leaders need their sleep and so do you. I made the mistake of watching a true crime show before heading to bed at 10pm one night and the clock had hit 3am before I realised that I alone probably couldn’t vanquish all the murderers of the world before my baby arrives. Tough to accept but true.
4. It is going to hurt
No matter how you bring baby into this world – with or without drugs, vaginal delivery or c-section – there will be physical pain and a period of healing. Every birth is different and losing sleep over something you can’t change will not help. As I approach another delivery, I am trying to focus on the euphoric feeling that comes after you bring new life into the world, rather than the pain.
5. Am I ready for this?
I am sure most expectant mums ask themselves this at some point but when it has been days since you’ve had a decent night sleep, this question can take you to a completely irrational place. Anyone who has felt overloaded by their to-do list will understand, the night time quiet opens a window for you to reflect on all the things you didn’t achieve that day.
When you are pregnant this can feel amplified because there is a very real time limit set. For the practically minded, this means you only have so long to get whatever needs to be done before bub arrives – think nursery set-up, nappy and hospital bags packed, pre-cook meals to freeze and dust skirting boards with a toothbrush (or is that just me?). When you can no longer see your toes over your bump, you have to accept you’ve reached a point of no return so, ready or not, baby is coming.
6. Change is coming
Babies change everything – your relationships, routines, finances, work, home, self. No matter what anyone tells you about the changes coming, there is only so much you can do to prepare for it.
During the daylight hours you can busy yourself trying to get ready or be distracted by your current routine but at night there is no escaping your mind. Right now my biggest fear of change comes down to how my four-year-old son will cope when he has a new little sibling to live with. This is worse on the nights when he tries to takeover the bed with my very pregnant self and my husband. As tired as I am now, I know it is nothing compared to the sleep deprivation ahead of me.
Now being sleep deprived through fear of future sleep deprivation is quite the conundrum.
We would love to hear what irrational fears have kept you awake at night during pregnancy.