‘When everything looks unusual around you, your eyes and your mind mostly need anything usual! Unfamiliar disturbs us; familiar comforts us!’
– Mehmet Murat ildan
I am writing this much too early on a Saturday morning to be awake. Admittedly, by the time I’ve finished and posted this, it’ll likely be a more reasonable hour but considering there are literally only a few weeks of this pregnancy left where I’ll have the luxury of being able to sleep as long as I want in the mornings, being awake since 5am hasn’t exactly been welcome…
And I’ve been thinking while I’ve not been sleeping; thinking about what I might be dwelling on that could be causing this insomnia in case it’s not as simple as just the impending life changes that are approaching, thinking about what might happen and what it might be like, trying intermittently to sleep again, only to open my eyes a few moments later despite my best efforts.
All the while, I’ve been aware of my body and how unusual it has become. Our tiny unborn baby has been awake most of the time with me. She’s been wriggling around, kicking out more violently every now and then but generally just fluttering about in there. Fortunately, and surprisingly, I’ve found these truly odd sensations to be comforting and much less alien than I’d feared! I like that I know she’s awake and like to think her wriggles are happy ones. Yes, her movements are one of the factors stopping me sleeping, but I don’t mind that one so much!
I’m less keen on the more general discomfort – the weight of my belly pulling me down to one side, the aches in my back and legs, the limitation in sleeping positions that are actually possible! I spent the previous 33 years learning exactly how I like to be comfortable in bed and this baby bump has changed them all. Lying on my front or back are out, extending my legs too far without pillow fort support only provides brief relief before I have to rearrange again. I end up restless, constantly changing positions in multistage turns as I lumbar my body around to try and find that elusive comfort.
I think that’s the strangest part of this whole pregnancy thing – I just don’t know my body anymore and I don’t know how to make it comfortable. Whether in bed or on the sofa or simply sitting at the table, the changes in my weight, posture and gravity are proving so profound that I’m having to relearn how to sit and lie easily, and it’s kind of awkward. Especially as she’s got over a month of growing left to go!!
But as I lie here, giving up on sleep for this morning and trying not to be too disruptive to the man and cat who are still sleeping around me, I have also been thinking about the joy and comfort of other familiar bodies. Because I’m not alone here. As I’ve been clumsily flailing around in my new and unfamiliar body, EA and his warm, comforting familiarity have been putting on a pretty good show of sleeping through (Oh, I hope he’s been sleeping through!).
It’s so unbelievably grounding, to have something and someone familiar to hold on to. When everything about me feels new and strange, to snuggle back against someone whose body I know and recognise is exactly what I need. When spooning, my back fits against his chest just like it used to, his arms still wrap around me in the same places and I feel safe again. When so much else is changing, I love that he smells and sounds and feels the same.
Except that now when his hands rest against my enlarging belly, I wonder if he can feel our baby moving too…