When I was 6 months pregnant with my last born child, there was no way in hell I could stay awake past 7:30pm. As soon as I got my other two kiddos in bed, I’d pull on my blue terry cloth robe, swaddle myself up, apply a nasal strip (because pregnancy rhinitis), and I was a goner. I didn’t care if I was extra excited to watch a show, or eat take out with my hubby alone, those fun things were dead to me and were never as exciting as looking at the back of my eyelids.
I remember my husband would look at me every night across the room and ask me to please stay awake — he was starting to feel lonely and neglected. He missed my company, but I couldn’t help myself. The guilt spread over me like butter sliding down a stack of warm pancakes, but it wasn’t enough to keep me awake, obviously.
I was gaining a few pounds a week and my body needed its rest. I felt like I’d taken a few sleeping pills and chased them with a fruity cocktail.
After talking to my midwife about my dilemma on not being able to stay awake past happy hour to spend quality time with my husband, she looked at me and said, “Tell him to get over it. You are growing a heart, and a set of lungs. You are making a human being.”
I felt validated after hearing that. I knew growing another person took a lot out of a woman, but I needed a medical professional to back me up.
The truth is, being pregnant is flat out fucking exhausting — I don’t care who you are. Some women feel like they are barely getting through their days during that first trimester. Others struggle more near the end. And lots of us are just tired the whole damn time.
It doesn’t matter if making that baby is the only thing you are doing and you are able to stay at home while that little bundle cooks inside of you — that, in itself, is enough to make you want to take a few naps and get 12 hours a sleep each night in between eating all the food.
Of course, the majority of us who are carrying a child don’t have just that on our plates. Some stay at home and have other kids to take care of. Some have to work every day, and many of us have all three going on. Throw in daily life like doing laundry, keeping up with the dishes, and grocery shopping, and it seems almost impossible to get through the day with anything other than your zombie face on.
I know it feels like you may never return to normal — I remember thinking so many times, there must be something else wrong with me. I wondered if I’d ever get my “zip” back, and would think perhaps my energy was gone forever.
But then I’d always remember what my midwife told me. And when you really think about how amazing our bodies are, how they are able to make skin and hair and eyeballs, and how big that job really is, it’s easier to lean into the exhaustion a bit more. So lean into it, and by that I mean lean into your bed or sofa as often as you can.
Your energy will come back when it comes back. Your child might be 8 months old or 18 years old — it doesn’t matter. What matters is you take care of yourself and do what you need to get through your pregnancy and those first few months.
Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, even if it means putting a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your front door for two months so you can hibernate and eat Reese’s cups — you do you, babe.
Just know that this exhaustion is totally normal. Also, don’t be afraid to give the household chores the middle finger every once in a while. You have more important shit to worry about.