Fact: I am three weeks postpartum and I cannot part with my beloved U-shaped pregnancy pillow. I won’t even entertain the idea. My husband and I affectionately call said pillow “the boat,” because of its Titanic shape and size, which takes up roughly 62% of our queen-size bed. It’s so huge that my husband and I had no choice but to sleep separately for the last three months of my pregnancy. “I can’t fit in the bed with that thing,” he said. “Plus, your snoring is out of control.” I couldn’t argue with either point. But there was no way I was going to give up the boat.
For those of you who haven’t used a pregnancy pillow — and really, why haven’t you? — I must tell you, it’s simply the best. It’s a game changer. I didn’t get mine till I was almost in my third trimester, and I was already pushing maximum density at that point. I was so much bigger than I’d been in my first pregnancy, and sleeping was becoming an issue. I was getting up more and more frequently to pee, and I could no longer lie on my back, my usual favorite position. My hips were aching and I was tossing and turning throughout the night. Things were looking bleak. And of course, at that moment in my life, I needed sleep more than ever.
Cue my friend Lauren offering up her pregnancy pillow, along with some baby clothes she no longer needed. I studied the pillow on her living room couch. God, it was huge. Did I really need that thing? I hadn’t bothered with one for my first pregnancy. I knew of their existence, but pregnancy pillows truly seemed like an unnecessary extravagance. I already used a knee pillow when I slept (a concept that my husband introduced me to). That was enough, right?
I took the pillow from Lauren, more as a courtesy than anything else. I figured I’d try it out for one or two nights, and that would be that. Because, really, I didn’t need it.
I had, if you will, a sleepiphany. I had achieved third-trimester pregnancy nirvana — a heavenly, pain-free night of sleep.
The first night, honestly, I found the pillow a bit unwieldy. It was supposed to lie in your bed like an upside-down U, but I didn’t want to use it like that, so I flipped it around. That way I could still use my regular pillow for my head. My friend had told me to rest my belly on the pillow, and hold it between my knees and ankles. Ooh, that felt good. Waaayyy more supportive than the knee pillow. But still, I wasn’t entirely sold. The pillow was just so… big. And I didn’t want to have to boot my husband out of the bed and into the guest room. I thought, Maybe I don’t need really this thing.
I have never been more wrong in my life.
A couple of nights in, I had, if you will, a sleepiphany. I had achieved third-trimester pregnancy nirvana — a heavenly, pain-free night of sleep. I decided the boat was now a permanent fixture. My understanding husband relocated to the guest room, and though I may have felt a fraction of an ounce of guilt about kicking him out of our marital bed, it was all but quashed by the amazing, sent-from-the-angels comfort that the boat provided. My aching hips were back to their old flexible selves. My ankles thanked me every morning for the extra support. Plus, I’d learned that I could tuck the other half of the boat’s U under my back, which prevented me from listing backward in the night and snoring like a rhino. The pregnancy pillow was a revelation. Nay, a miracle. And it completely changed my quality of sleep for the last trimester of my pregnancy.
He was probably right, I figured. I mean, a non-pregnant person doesn’t really need a pregnancy pillow, right? Wrong.
Once our son was born, my husband joked that he couldn’t wait to get back into our bed now that I no longer needed the boat. Hold up, I thought. I, and only, I will determine when I stop using the boat. “You don’t need it anymore, do you?” he asked. I looked down at my belly, which, albeit smaller, was still huge. I pictured a sleep in which I didn’t get to rest my oversized gut on the pregnancy pillow; in which my ankles and hips didn’t get the TLC they’d grown so accustomed to. “Give me a few days to decide,” I told him. He was probably right, I figured. I mean, a non-pregnant person doesn’t really need a pregnancy pillow, right?
For my husband’s sake, one night I tried to use just the knee pillow. I settled into bed, tucked the all-too-thin pillow between my knees and laid down. My ankles clanked together. My back threatened to stage a revolt. The whole affair lasted all of two minutes before I rolled out of bed, crept past my sleeping infant, grabbed the boat and stuffed it back under my sheets in its rightful place.
I’ll be damned if I give up the boat. I can’t. I won’t. Dear pregnancy pillow, a famous cowboy once said it best: I wish I knew how to quit you.
But not really.
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