Apparently my body has decided that my new waking time is 4am. No six in the morning alarm is necessary anymore, 4am strikes and I am wide awake and it's becoming my most productive part of the day. Creative thoughts for work strike, lists for things we need to do to the house are made, holidays researched, and to do lists struck off.
Who knows why this is happening, but people keep telling me it's either my body preparing for when a small human arrives (a cruel truth if this is the case); too much adrenal stress still pumping through my veins that causes a 4am surge (although efforts to relax more and avoid screens before bed etc don't seem to be doing that much to address this), or simply a combination of needing the loo & having a baby somersaulting in your stomach constantly (apparently the small Keylock is an acrobat in the making). I suspect it's the last reason, but either way, it's fast becoming my new reading and writing time.
Inevitably it's also a time to think about all of the craziness that's going to be coming our way. This is our first baby, and whilst we've witnessed numerous small people transforming the lives of our families (12 nieces and nephews between us and counting...) and friends, we're obviously still working out for ourselves how exactly it will impact our lives and our best way to navigate through.
So, in the spirit of 4am honesty, and unleashing the secret concerns that must occur to most pregnant mums at some point, here are my 4am thoughts & ramblings....
(1) I worry about just how gigantic the belly is going to get by the end of the pregnancy, and whether my normal figure will ever return
It's terrible really that this is one of the first things that comes to mind, but as someone who's always kept fit and tried to fight the natural belly that's been permanently present, accepting that mine is expanding by the week has been weird to wrap my head around to say the least. Clean eating and exercise has kept it pretty small so far, but hospital visits like the one I had on Friday only serve to remind me that there's a LONG way to go, and soon I'll likely look like Mr Greedy when I turn to the side. This still scares me.
(2) I think about just how painful birth is going to be, and if I'm going to be a total wuss
This one probably hasn't been helped by numerous friends stories of 36 hour pregnancies and shouts of 'give me the drugs!!'. Recognising that I didn't exactly have this romantic, beautiful notion of childbirth from the start, I signed us up to a hypno-birthing course to address this, so this worry isn't floating around quite as much as it was at the beginning....but there's still this little thought at the back of my mind that all the training in the world might not prevent the reality being utterly horrendous. Roll on the course....
(3) I worry about whether I'll go absolutely mental post baby when we're just living at the coast, I'm not getting my London 'hit' and it's just me and the little human all day
For those who don't know us who may read this, we live in London mid-week, and Worthing at the weekends, and have decided that we're going to try the full-time seaside experience when the baby is born (and see how it goes...). I LOVE it down here, and the idea of a baby in June, by the sea, is pretty dreamy, but it doesn't stop me worrying about (1) whether I'll meet anyone I have anything in common with down here (I constantly scout pubs and cafes we go to for people who 'look like us' in preparation for this) (2) whether friends will still come and visit when I don't have the post work meet ups to rely on and (3) whether it will just all be that bit too quiet and I'll go slowly, stark raving mad without Ben being around during the days.
(4) I think about what kind of parents Ben and I will be, and whether we'll still find time for each other as a couple, not just as 'mum and dad'
From friends warning us at a dinner the other week that we may as well 'forget about sex for the first year or two' to numerous articles written on mum blogs about the feeling of wanting to kill your partner as you both become sleepless wrecks, to seeing couples we know somehow drift into separate places within the same house...this is probably one of the things that remains top of mind. I have zero worries about Ben and I and our happiness, but all these things are said / written with a sense of inevitability that ignores how strong a couple you were before. Lots of mental planning going on about ways to make sure we still get time as us and stay as happy as we are now ahead of all of the madness.
(5) I curse myself for forgetting to do my kegel exercises again today, and read 3 articles about whether kegels or squats are most beneficial
And then go on to plan to do squats each time I clean my teeth in an effort to make them part of my routine. And then wake up again later, clean my teeth and totally forget to squat at all. Bugger.
(6) I google the effects of a small amount of alcohol on pregnancy and question for the billionth time the choices I've made about which foods to have / not have
From the beginning, I've been pretty relaxed on this topic. I decided that a drink or two a week would be ok (there are seriously no studies at all yet that have established a risk at this volume, and several that have said it's comparable to drinking nothing), that I'd avoid too much cured meat, eschew sushi altogether, avoid the relevant cheeses, but not worry too much about shellfish as long as it's cooked properly. For 99% of the time, I'm confident with this decision - I don't eat gluten, or drink caffeine, I don't have cow's dairy, and I do yoga or some form of exercise 5 or 6 times a week; as well as having regular acupuncture, reflexology and take an array of supplements recommended by a nutritionist. I'm pretty sure there's little more I could do to be healthy for me and the baby. And yet....all it takes is one conversation (this time at dinner the other night, where a lovely guy I used to work with told me that his wife avoided everything, including wine 'because it's only 9 months right, and why wouldn't you?) to make me question all my choices and look up all of the studies once again. The 4am curse of the crazy brain.
(7) 6am comes and I return to a normal, pretty chilled out human being
Often by this point I've managed to stop googling / reading like a mad woman, have had a bit more sleep, and normality resumes. I wake up, Ben kisses my (ever expanding, starting to look like a Mr Men character) belly, tells me how excited he is for the billionth time, and how amazing he thinks I am; and I remember how exciting and amazing all of this journey is; and how 1-6 are all totally irrelevant in the wake of our new family.
Until 4am tomorrow that is.....
Let me know if any of the above applies to you, or if your 4am secrets were any more insane!