Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Each time I've approached childbirth, I've assumed that it would be easier than the previous time. Most women assume that, and it generally holds true (although, of course, there are exceptions). But most of the time, giving birth to the first child is the longest and hardest, and it gets shorter and easier from there...except in the area of uterine contractions which I've already mentioned a few times in various posts. With them, the trend is the opposite, and the difficulty actually increases with each subsequent delivery and recovery period as the pain gets worse and worse.

The same seems to be true, I've found, with most aspects of settling into a new routine after adding a family member: in almost all areas, as the days go by, things get easier and easier. You'd assume--and rightly so--that two weeks after birth would seem more manageable than one week and three weeks would begin to feel more normal than two weeks and so on...except in the area of fatigue. The cumulative effects of fatigue begin to pile up more and more, and the difficulty of dealing with life on very little sleep actually increases as the days go by. I remember the first night after Shav was born. I was delighted to wake up to nurse him and have time to study his sweet face and lavish him with kisses. Waking up wasn't that hard to do, and the excitement and adrenaline of simply getting to meet this new little member of our family carried me through the early days. But now, instead of things getting better in this area, they are actually getting worse and worse, and the exhaustion--oh, the exhaustion! It forces me to draaaaaaaaaaaag myself through each day, sometimes focusing on simply making it through each hour or each minute because it's too difficult to think further ahead than that. It changes my goal from thriving to just surviving. It tweaks my emotions so much that each event brings forth a much more intense emotional response than it really deserves. It tries to make me think that life will always be this way and I will never feel rested or energetic again. It makes caring for four children feel overwhelming. It makes me think repeatedly throughout the day, "This is hard. This is hard. This is HARD."

Because I've gone through this a few times, I KNOW in my head that what feels like a perpetual difficult reality at this point in time will indeed fade away into an easier pattern of living. My other sons have all started sleeping through the night at two or two and a half months, and I expect Shav to do the same. I know when that happens, I will begin to feel much more rested and my whole outlook on the world will significantly improve. I know better times are coming. I know, based on this post from when Tobin was over a month old, that the fatigue was building and building and making me feel half-crazy; but I also know, from this post, that just a few weeks later, everything changed when Tobin started sleeping through the night. I have strong hope that the same will hold true this time around as I care for Shav.

But for now, it feels like, rather than getting better, things are actually getting worse and worse and worse. And all because I'm just so tired.


Margie said...

Oh, Davene. I'm so sorry to read this. I don't feel so far away from those days with Sarah, and when you write about how you feel, I want to say, "I know! It's SO HARD." You have such a way about writing what we all know, but also making it sound so unique. I admire your ability to blog in your exhausted state; you're a trooper.

I wish I could help - take some of the load, let you get some rest. But since I'm here and you're there, please at least know you're in my prayers. It's all I can offer.

I hope, as I type, that you're sleeping.

Morning said...

Poor girl. You simply need someone to put you to bed for a few hours each afternoon, and all would be well. What a difficult time these early days are. I wish I could help practically, but please know I'm thinking of you.

Julie said...

And sometimes that's all we can do...survive. We are survivors ;-) Get rest, dear friend, and thanks for the reminder that it will not always be this way...I love you!

Hannah said...

I clicked over from Emily Joy's blog, and I just have to say, I love your profile description. Wonderfully put. :)