Women will only have true equality when men share with them the responsibility of bringing up the next generation.
-Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Something all moms can relate to is feeling absolutely exhausted at different times during postpartum, especially in those early days after the birth of your baby.
There can be many different causes of fatigue during postpartum from:
- 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 postpartum 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 postpartum mental health concern like anxiety, depression, grief or trauma
- Hormonal changes
- Relationship stress that often occurs post-baby
- If you have other children to take care of in addition to your baby
Exhaustion in postpartum may also be a result of moms struggling with the concept of relaxing in and of itself. Why is it so hard for new moms 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).
- Knowing that you’re still carrying the mental load of motherhood in your head, even when you try to slow down.
- Feeling like taking care of the baby/older kids is solely your responsibility (especially if you’re a breastfeeding only mom and/or a stay-at-home mom).
- 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 before your own personal needs.
- Feeling like you are always failing somewhere (home, work, kid/s, partner, body, friendships) because we truly cannot do it all, even though we are socially taught that we should be able to do it all.
So, mom fatigue may be caused by a myriad of reasons during postpartum. Always start with your doctor to make sure it isn’t a medical issue, before focusing on the other possible causes of your motherhood exhaustion discussed in this section.
Finally, here are some morning self-care ideas for the tired mom:
- Thank of a daily mantra or affirmation
- Go outside and focus on your five senses
- Make your bed
- Sit and enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea
I wish you all the best, including a good night of sleep tonight!