The most frequently given advice in these last few weeks of pregnancy is to get sleep. People who have had children and those that haven’t say it with a wink of the eye inferring that the parent to be has no idea what they are getting into. That like Macbeth the baby will murder sleep.
I say bring it.
Sleep is something I relish. The ability to shut down disappearing into the bed. The feeling of waking up unassisted and seeing the sun has replaced the dark night. I love it. But in part because it is already a scarce commodity. I’ve never been a good sleeper. I sleep lightly waking up at house sounds, bird sounds, city sounds, partner sounds. At different periods of my life I’ve fought to get to sleep – waiting seemingly for hours for my brain to quiet down. Or, fought to get back to sleep – I discovered in college that if I played the BBC’s epic 6-hour Pride and Prejudice when I had insomnia the familiarity mixed with gentle lulling british accents would comfort me back to bed. I’d wake up in the morning with the theme playing on loop from the DVD title page.
And now, my pregnancy has created a new kind of sleep. It already feels like a rare friend. I wake with regularity usually every two hours, on bad nights every hour. I get up and use the bathroom and head back into bed. I immediately fall into a deep dream only to wake up exactly an hour or two later and repeat.
I may regret saying so but I’m actually looking forward to having someone to share those awake times with. I’m looking forward to late night wakings with the little one. Waking for a reason, for a purpose and being able to share the quite cool of 3 a.m. before drifting off again.
Now, if the baby is still waking me up with regularity a year from now, I’m sure I’ll have other things to say. But since sleep cannot be banked in advance and the times to be quiet and along with your child are few I’m looking forward to shared sleeplessness.