Acutely grieving one child. Actively growing another. I can’t recall a time in my life when I have been so fully drained of energy, of motivation. I was so ready for this four-day weekend that I left the office early on Thursday. And I only work 28 hours a week. I am so grateful that this week will be only a three-day work week, and then I’ll be off for ten days. I have barely been working for four weeks (again, for only 28 hours a week) and I am already desperate for a long break.
Grief, as I’ve written before, is exhausting, both mentally and physically. The constant unpredictability of my emotions, the constant awareness of Hudson’s absence, the constant longing to have her back, to have my old life back—it’s enough to make a person want to get in bed and never get out. I often wish I could.
Growing a baby, as many of you know, is also exhausting. The main pregnancy symptom I had with Hudson is the same one I’m struggling most with now—absolute fatigue. I struggle to get out of bed every morning, I struggle to concentrate during the day, I start to yawn around 2:30 or 3:00, I sleepwalk through most of the evening, and can’t wait to get to bed.
I hate how I don’t feel like myself. Yesterday, I spent the morning with Ed, my dad, and my brother at my dad’s house, and I just felt awful. After a mostly glorious day on Saturday, I was having a terribly sad morning, just missing Hudson so much, and still tired even though I’d slept for many hours overnight. I could hear myself responding to things being said to me, and I remember thinking how cross and curt I sounded, for no good reason. Today, I’ve been parked on the couch all day watching television, not wanting to move. I’m already dreading even the three days I have to be at work this week.
Many folks have sent me so many very heartfelt messages during the last several weeks, and I just haven’t been able to muster the energy or the motivation to respond—I’m so sorry. I’ve also been on an unplanned hiatus from the all the other grief and loss blogs I usually read—right now, I feel like I’m carrying all I can carry. And that feels terrible, incredibly selfish, particularly when so many of those women have continued to give me such unconditional support and love. I’m so sorry to all you mamas, sorry that I can’t be a witness for your grief right now. It doesn’t change how much I am always thinking about and feeling for you, but I am just floundering at the moment.
To make matters worse, I just read this article in TIME magazine about fetal origins, about how scientists are beginning to believe more than ever that what happens to you in the womb can have as significant an impact on your health and well-being long-term as can anything you experience after birth. As if I weren’t already worried enough about how my acute grief might affect this little bean growing inside me, I now read an article saying that children born of pregnant women exposed to extreme stress have a higher risk of developing schizophrenia, that fetuses of depressed or anxious women show more sensitivity to stress in the womb than fetuses of women with normal moods.
The grief and the pregnancy are like the perfect storm, each wreaking its own brand of physical and emotional havoc on my heart and my body, the combination of which is leaving me pretty battered. I know from experience that the pregnancy fatigue will let up some after the next month or so, and won’t return again until late in the spring—at least I hope that’s the case. The rest of it is enough to deal with without that on top.
And then I read over this post again and think it sounds like a giant, embarrassing, incoherent self-pity party. And that makes me feel even worse. Gah. Maybe I don’t need to crawl in bed and never come out, but I’d settle for going to sleep and not waking up until May.