When I was pregnant with my very first baby, my daily routine was highly predictable.
After throwing up on the side of the road in the middle of my drive to work (and then about an hour after arriving,) I would graze on food for the rest of the day (while working, of course) before heading back home. The second I walked in my front door, I would plop myself on the couch and proceed to take a two- to three-hour nap.
I'd then wake up, grab some dinner, shower and go back to sleep for the night. Repeat.
Man, did I take those glorious, interruption-free pregnancy naps for granted.
Fast-forward 7.5 years, and I'm expecting my fourth child. Midday naps are a thing of the past because I have an almost 7-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old running me around all day. Hey, it's the life I signed up for.
But that doesn't change the fact that I feel like a constantly-nauseated, sleep-deprived shell of a person.
These days, I sneak in extra sleep whenever I possibly can. Like during those earlier-than-usual mornings when our 2-year-old is up 6 a.m. sharp and I pretend not to notice. (So my husband gets up with her.) Or when we're at my in-laws' house for lunch, and I know the kiddos have plenty of supervision. So I just "rest my eyes for a moment."
The few naps I do sneak in are heavenly. But, overall, they don't make a dent in the fact that I'm So. Freaking. Exhausted. Each morning, I wake up feeling like I got hit by a bus – even if I clocked 7-8 hours. And every once in a while, I'll force myself to go to bed ridiculously early so I can "catch up" on sleep. But even if I'm in bed for 11 hours straight, it's never enough.
Ten years from now – or probably even two years from now – I'm sure I'll forget all about the extent of my current fatigue. Instead, I'll look back at this time in my life through rose-tinted glasses. "Man, feeling those little kicks and hiccups was so cool," I'll reminisce."And there's nothing quite like seeing those two pink lines for the first time. Ah, the magic of creating life."
I'll read and hear stories about others who are struggling to keep their eyes open like I am now, and I'll think to myself, "Suck it up, buttercup. I did this whole pregnancy thing four times, and I survived." Well, feel free to slap future me in the face, ladies.
Because pregnancy exhaustion is no joke.
Images by Michelle Stein, Thinkstock
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.