Has anyone ever heard of the spoon theory of energy? It was originally made-up to explain how living with an illness can create reduced stamina/fatigue (I originally heard about it here – from a 26-year old undergoing treatments for cancer). I don’t mean to downplay the significance of living with a serious illness and – obviously – pregnancy is totally natural and normal, but I can’t get the theory out of my head and think it’s a GREAT way to explain my own reduced stamina.
You see, I get asked about 10 times per day if I’m feeling tired. It’s a hard question to answer. Usually I’m not tired, per se, but I definitely don’t have the energy level that I used to. Spoon theory can explain the difference between my current state of reduced energy as opposed to my first-trimester *serious* fatigue.
Spoon Theory goes as such….
Every day when we wake up, we have a certain number of spoons available to us (spoons are kind of like energy currency). We use up our spoons as we engage in all of our tasks that we have planned for the day. The thing about the tasks, though, is that their “cost” (in terms of the number of spoons they require) can vary from person to person and even from day to day.
So for a normal, healthy person this might be a sample break-down:
You get 50 spoons for the day.
- Getting showered and dressed = 2 spoons
- Doing laundry = 2 spoons
- Doing dishes = 2 spoons
- 3 mile run = 7 spoons
- Driving to work = 1/2 spoon
and so on….
Now, lets look at first-trimester fatigue. You still get 50 spoons, but here’s how things change:
- Getting showered and dressed = 15 spoons
- Doing laundry = 15 spoons
- Doing dishes = 15 spoons
yikes! I’m almost out of spoons and its only 8am! Better take a nap to re-stock!!!
This is why I’ve commented before about how during my first trimester I was always so exhausted! I mentioned that doing dishes AND sweeping the floor AND doing laundry seriously felt like I’d just finished competing in a triathlon! I wasn’t joking either! Thank goodness it was winter break, because I took a LOT of naps!
Now that I’m almost to 26 weeks (tomorrow), and *feel* as though I’m in the depths of the third trimester (indeed, I’m the same size as many 8.5 month pregnant women), the whole spoon thing has changed. It’s not that the tasks require more spoons than they did for the normal, healthy person. Rather, I feel like I have fewer spoons each morning when I wake up. I’m already starting at a reduced energy-capacity. See the difference? So as compared to the first trimester, its now much easier for me to get dressed and do the laundry and dishes…but I’m only operating at about 25-30 spoons per day, depending on the day. I’m not immediately worn-out and exhausted from sweeping the floor…but I’ve got to budget my spoons so that I make sure I have enough leftover by evening so I can cook some dinner and clean up a little around the house. That means some things have had to slide.
The Spoon Theory also explains why it’s difficult for me to answer the “are you tired?” question. Because typically – no, I’m not tired. But….I know I may wear myself out if I try to accomplish too much in a single day and that I shouldn’t be pushing my limits right now.
Currently, my goal is to make it to 36 weeks gestation. That’s another month and a half! Typical twin moms are put on bed-rest between 28-31 weeks. I want to try to put-off bed rest as long as possible and a secondary goal is that – if I have to go on bed-rest – I can do it from home instead of having to be admitted to the hospital. All the more reason to NOT be pushing my limits right now. So wish me luck….because 28 weeks is just around the corner!!!