Being a mom has made me so tired. And so happy.
Something all women can relate to is feeling absolutely exhausted at different times during pregnancy and throughout motherhood.
There can be many different causes of fatigue during pregnancy and postpartum:
- Not sleep well, especially in those final weeks of your pregnancy
- The lack of sleep in the newborn days because of their need for frequent feedings
- Checking throughout the night to make sure your baby is still breathing
- Not being able to sleep because you’re worried about your baby being sick
- Being woken in the night because of teething
Other causes of fatigue can be a bit harder to pinpoint, such as:
- A new medical issue showing up in your life like a thyroid problem
- The fatigue you’re experiencing actually being a symptom of a mental health concern like anxiety, depression, grief or trauma
- Hormonal changes
- Relationship stress that can occurs pre and post-baby
- If you have other children to take care of in your life
Exhaustion may also be a result of women struggling with the concept of relaxing in and of itself. Why is it so hard women to relax? Here are some possible reasons:
- There’s always so much to physically do to keep the household running smoothly.
- Fear that if you don’t do what needs to be done, it will never get done.
- Wanting things done the right way/perfectly, which means you do them yourself.
- Not trusting others to help you.
- Feeling like relaxing is not productive and that there are better uses for your time (which may be a learned pattern from your childhood).
- Telling yourself that you’ll relax when everything is finished (but let’s be honest here, in actuality it’s never all finished).
- Not feeling comfortable leaving tasks half completed.
- Discomfort around being vulnerable and asking for help.
- Putting all of the needs of your family/other people before your own personal needs.
- Feeling like you are always failing somewhere (home, work, partner, friendships) because we truly cannot do it all, even though we are socially taught that we should be able to do it all.
So, fatigue in pregnancy and motherhood may be caused by a myriad of reason. Always start with your doctor to make sure it isn’t a medical issue, before focusing on the other possible causes of your exhaustion discussed in this section.
Overwhelm often shows up when you feel like you have:
- Too much to do and not enough time in the day to do it all.
It can be a real pressure that’s coming from an external place like your mom’s coming for a visit and the house needs to be cleaned, or an internal pressure in that you need your environment neat and orderly so you can function well mentally.
When you are feeling the strain of overwhelm, breaking this cycle usually involves asking others for help and support. This can be hard to do if you feel a lot of discomfort around being vulnerable. But, this extra love and support from those who truly care about you can make a world of difference and can even add more joy back into this time in your life as well.