My first identifiable pregnancy symptom was exhaustion. I had been prepared for the morning sickness ((Personal rant: For the love of all the penguins, stop calling it morning sickness. This is an all-day battle), the cravings, and the hormonal crying, but no one told me about the exhaustion. My dear husband, Wesley, and I were at a concert one night. We enjoyed the show, but at the end, we were doing the-obligatory-stand-and-clap-for-10-years-thing-that-everyone-has-to-do-at-concerts and I was just so, so, so tired.
The walk back to the car felt like I was a turtle courageously stampeding through…gallons of maple syrup. Each step left me more and more exhausted. By the time we reached the car, I had never been so tired. You know how tired you are when you get home from summer camp and you only slept like 4 hours all week? Yeah, that was nothing in comparison.
On the drive home, I used the dark of night to close my eyes but I remember trying to keep a conversation going with Wesley but fumbling all over my words, forgetting to respond, and just struggling, HARDCORE. Wesley realized this, probably because he is a saint, and told me to sleep on the way home. I went to sleep, then, in the middle of February and didn’t wake up until the first trimester ended in April (or at least that is how it felt). Odds are you will continue to feel tired for the remainder of your pregnancy and that is perfectly natural and fine, but unless we manage it, it can take over our lives… and let me tell ya, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Managing Pregnancy Exhaustion:
Suddenly, a child, the size of a poppy seed came along and zapped every ounce of energy I had. Yet, we have lives, we can’t just sleep for 3 months and call it good. (although, don’t you wish). These are a few tools I used to survive those first few months.
- Remember the bigger picture. It’s okay to be tired. I felt, and still feel, guilty for how tired and unmotivated I have been. I was talking to one of my single, non-pregnant friends about it and she said “well, duh, you are making a human.” It is easy to forget what we are doing because a lot of it happens unconsciously, but it still has its effects…and that is okay.
- Unload unnecessary burdens. If you are anything like me, you try to save the world every day. You have people to visit, assignments to fix, places to clean, laundry to do and the list never ends. Learn to let go. Don’t worry about the living room clutter or making treats for the family down the street. Give yourself as little stress as possible.
- Drink more (cold) water than ever before. Set a high goal and drink as much as you can. This is good for you, good for baby, and it helps you get up and go to the bathroom often, which means you aren’t sleeping. (2 birds, 1 stone).
- Eat regularly. Every veteran momma will tell you this, but it really does wonders. Small snacks every few hours, even when you don’t feel like eating. I lost 10 pounds in my first trimester (which is fairly common) but most of that came from an I-was-nauseous-so-I-forgot-to-eat. The problem with this is when you finally do eat, you retain less because of morning sickness sets in much, much worse.
- Be an old lady and set a bedtime for yourself. I have said that by 9pm, I will be in bed. I don’t always go to sleep by 9, but I will be in bed (working, watching a movie, talking to my husband, or sleeping). This has helped because it gives me a time to look forward to sleeping. As 20-somethings in a college town, there is lots to do after 9pm, but I find that being in bed by 9 really helps my night’s sleep and the next day.
I know there are a whole bunch of other things that have helped countless others, but these things have helped me the most. The second trimester has been a lot better for me, but I have found that when I stop doing these things I get hungry, angry, and tired. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
What tools and resources have you used to stay awake? What are you doing to combat being hungry, angry, and tired?