I’ve just been hit by a vast wave of tiredness… and that’s my chief experience of being pregnant right there. So far, so sleepy. I can understand the exhaustion – it sounds like my body is being very industrious. I can’t really feel all the effort it’s going to, except for how tired I feel, but from what I’ve read, it’s a hive of activity in there. We’re getting these weekly updates from a very handy site called Pregnancy Centre that are blowing my mind, like this one, for Week 10. Fingernails? Seriously – fingernails? All quite amazing – and no wonder I am beat.
I seem to have completely dodged the morning sickness bullet, and the only tears I’ll be shedding over that are soaked in gratitude. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and I do feel so incredibly fortunate while all this is going on that I work from home, and I think it’s in no small way contributing to my general physical wellness. I have a new and overwhelming respect for the women whose first trimester coincides with an unchanged, high-pressure, no-relief corporate career. Long hours, commuting, battery hen open-plan offices full of everyone’s winter mucus – ugh – I do not know how they do it, and no wonder some women get really sick.
Because here’s the thing I didn’t know would happen: I’m sleeping really badly. I’d blithely assumed that all this enforced clean living would result in 9 months of blissful slumber, and that I’d be able to store up sleep stamps for that notoriously sleepless event of a baby coming home to stay. Well. Forget about it. What a joke. No one told me I wouldn’t be able to sleep the whole way through, but now I’ve started indignantly canvassing people about this grave omission, the knowing nods are coming in thick and fast. So that’s the first thing high-powered career women have to deal with: the shattered expectation and necessity of a decent night’s sleep. It’s the extra toilet trips, sure, but it’s not just that. I just think this factory’s open all hours, working overtime to meet demand, lights blazing, muzak blaring, strained workers grumbling about conditions.
Then there’s the food thing. I eat whenever I want to. Literally the second I want to. There’s no one standing by my desk talking about last night’s Master Chef, there’s no one calling me into their office for an urgent meeting, there’s no one waiting for me to conduct that big presentation across town, there’s no queue at the sandwich counter down in the foyer. There’s just the very nifty open door policy I have going with my refrigerator. We have an understanding. So I don’t skip a single meal or a single snack or even have to wait until some socially acceptable lunch hour to rip into today’s treat – I can just suit myself, and believe me, I do. It’s like the sleeping. If I’m awake between 2:30 and 6 am, which is what happened the other night, I go back to sleep, and I don’t get up until I wake up, usually around 10 am on the back of these insomnia events. And if it’s 11 am, who the fuck cares? I need sleep. I’m building a person, apparently, and it seems to be quite a big job. This, I tell myself, is me doing that job.
How women take the level of exhaustion I’m feeling and incorporate it into an office job in the CBD, I’ll never know. What Trojans. What legends. Also, most people keep their first trimester a secret because of the risk of miscarriage and all the normality testing that only takes place around Week 12, so can you imagine the pressure of that, added to these other ingredients? Nausea? Pass me a bucket! The stress must be killing, and they must internalise it because they feel they can’t let it show. Oh, ladies. I salute you. I really do.