Mar
03
2009

  The Illusion of Vigor

I've been feeling a bit down lately, and I think it's mostly due to the fact that I am tired nearly ALL THE TIME. There is a brief window where I have some energy, I usually feel pretty good the twenty minutes or so around when I eat breakfast. But then around 9am I'm ready for a nap. It's ridiculous.

I guess even throughout the day, I get about 20-minutes when I feel pretty good, always right after I take a nap. Now, my naps aren't always that long, but I'm falling asleep all over the place. I'll be reading the paper, then all of a sudden I'm asleep and I wake up a half hour later with newsprint on my face where I landed face-down on the sofa because I apparently couldn't stay awake another minute. I can't imagine having to hold down a job like this, I'm sure I'd be completely miserable if I HAD to stay awake all day.

My new strategy is to use these immediate-post-nap minutes to get things done. During one, I called the carpet guys to see if I could negotiate a lower price. I did get a lower price out of one of the guys, about 5% off. The other guy didn't seem like he was willing to deal when I was on the phone the first time, but he called me back and explained why the price seemed high to me. Because of the shape of our room, there will unfortunately be quite a bit of waste, and it's expensive carpet I've got to pay for even though it's not useful to me. So I told him that was a problem, and perhaps he could find another brand of wool carpet that came in a different width to see if we could reduce the price. He called me back later in the afternoon, but I was too tired to take the call at that point (I knew it was him, since we now for the first time have caller-ID since Terry got the DSL/home phone package and it's included). He'll probably call again tomorrow, hopefully at a time when I'll have the energy to deal with it.

I also took a walk during my brief burst of post-nap energy. Of course, I was severely depleted of energy by the time I got back home, but that's nothing new. At least it was a sunny day so the walk was pleasant.

Terry also gave me a pep talk. At times I'm not particularly excited about being such an old mother. I never wanted to be one of those women who delayed child-bearing until their late 30s. I wanted to have kids in my 20s, or early 30s at the latest. And when that didn't happen, I got adjusted to the idea that I just wouldn't have kids. While I used to want kids quite a bit, I never really envisioned having one while I am this old. Terry pressed me to determine why I'm so turned off by having kids at my age, and it's because I've seen what it does to other women. When my friends had kids in their 20s and early 30s, they bounced back and pretty much looked the same post-child as they did pre-child. But when my friends had kids in their 40s, they aged immediately and permanently. There was no turning back, they've never looked like they did pre-baby. And I don't want that to happen to me.

Terry was able to point out to me that I am probably attributing all the fatigue and exhaustion I'm feeling to being old and pregnant, when in fact it very well could be as tiring for pregnant women in their 20s, and that it's just from being pregnant, period, and has nothing to do with my age. Aha. That was an encouraging thought. And he had no idea exactly how tired and exhausted I felt, since I seemed to be feeling fine all the time. I explained that I just didn't see the point in complaining since the discomforts are more nuisance than painful and if I seemed to have energy I guess I was just presenting the illusion of vigor.

We also noted that even when older moms acknowledge that yes, they are exhausted all the time, they also claim that it's not such a hardship, since having a baby is such a delight their tiredness doesn't seem like a big deal. And I don't suppose I'll feel any differently if I do happen to be old enough that I'm exhausted all the time once I have a baby. And if it's not going to really bother me in the future, perhaps I shouldn't let it bother me now. And there is always the chance that I won't be as exhausted as I fear I will. Again, I've been spending time worrying about what might happen, which is not useful worry.

All in all, Terry did a pretty good job at cheering me up. Well, maybe I wasn't cheered as much as I was just less morose. But that's still good. I'll take that. I might also consider doing some cognitive work that includes positive imagery about post-partum life. If my thoughts are going to be filled with "what ifs" then I might as well guide them towards good "what ifs" instead of negative ones. Terry and I are both glad for the stints we put in with cognitive behavioral therapists while we were in NYC, the tools we learned really are useful in helping us feel better about things without medications (either prescription or self-prescribed).