In 1989, I had a difficult pregnancy and then a Caesarian birth and I remember thinking "But I can't be expected to look after a baby! I can't get up off this chair!"
It was a shock to me, because although I've never had any kind of turn of speed in anything, I had, until then, always had plenty of stamina. In my twenties I had always thought that, one day, I might swim the Channel, because I had never swum for so long that I felt I couldn't swim any more.
Being tired after Olli was born drove me nuts: I just didn't know how to cope with it.
Thinking back on it, hey ho, I was probably an undiagnosed Type 2 diabetic then too, which would explain the crushing extent of it. I know that all new mothers are tired: I know I was thirty-three which is long in the tooth in looking-after-a-first-baby terms. But I did seem quite astonishingly tired and I felt that nobody really understood quite how bad it was, kind and supportive though my family were.
(Olli wasn't actually my first baby: my first was born in 1984, prematurely, and only lived for three weeks. That's not what this piece is about but I don't feel right saying "first baby" as I did in the above paragraph, without explaining).
Last night I remembered that feeling of absolute exhaustion and I found myself wondering why on earth I felt like that yesterday. Although actually, I had just worked for twelve days in a row since I was working last weekend: and it's been pretty busy in the agency's office: and a lot of the work I've done this couple of weeks has been pretty emotionally draining.
For example, for the last roleplay I did on Friday I was playing a woman who had been told she'd got cancer - very abruptly, and without her husband being present, when she had particularly requested that he be there when she got her diagnosis. It was based on a real incident that a medical student had found to be particularly traumatic.
So roleplays like that are demanding, if you do them well, and I try to. The work in the office is demanding, too, in a different way.
I enjoy all my work. I know, in these difficult times, that I'm really lucky to have work at all. And yet it annoys me that I got so tired. Last night I was in bed and asleep by quarter to nine - a time that I - a real night owl - didn't know existed in sleep terms. I slept until quarter past seven. That's ten and a half hours, for goodness' sake! Usually if I get seven hours' sleep it's a lot.
If this is getting older, I'm not having it. Grrrrr.