So excuse the language but this is exactly what I have been told by several people including a doctor. When I was feeling low and exhausted I sort out help and I was told these things;
- You need to rest more but as you have a baby that’s probably not going to happen
- Your probably depressed would you like some pills
- Your going to feel pretty much exhausted all the time for the next 3-5 years (undertone of get over it)
- I’m not sure what you want me to do
All of the above were told to me by a medical professional when I was seeking some advice on my constant colds and extremely low energy. I left the room feeling disempowered, ungrateful and pretty much like the worst mum in the world for complaining.
So fast forward to now and I am calling BS on all of this. I am calling BS on the ‘oh well you have a baby you should look, feel, etc like shit’ Noooooooooo and may I again say NO NO NO NO NO.
So let’s sort the facts out. Yes you will probably be more tired than you ever thought possible and you’ll want to go back and slap your 21 year old self who ever complained about getting up at 7am to catch a flight abroad.
Yes there will be days that getting dressed, having a brew and leaving the house seem like something impossible and you’ll cry.
Yes there will be days that your skin is grey, your hair looks limp and you look much like a well loved but well beaten rag doll. And yes before you ask it is all totally worth it.
What I am calling BS on is that fact we think it is OK for new mums to feel like shit for months on end with no rest bite. We expect them to be burnt out, to be weepy, to have constant baby brain and feel like they are just about coping. This is not a right of passage. This is a woman struggling with little or no support from those around her and society as a whole.
The truth of the matter is I was at the end of my rope. I was working too hard, trying to be everything to everybody. I was trying to seem like I had life all balanced up and i was killing myself doing it. I was trying to lose imaginary weight that I wasn’t holding and I was trying to fit into this picture perfect mummy mould that the western world has created.
And I am not alone. How many mums have I spoke to who feel they are trying to keep up with a world which doesn’t offer any rest bite, no support and god forbid if you’d like a little empathy!
So what would i like or what would I have liked from the professional. How about some of these.
To start with let’s insert ‘Im sorry your feeling like this’ into every one of the below
- How is your support network helping?
- What is your diet and exercise like, let’s look at how we can change it
- How do you feel emotionally? (do not presume I am depressed)
- How is your partner/baby’s father helping and can you pass over some of the load
- Would you like to seek counselling or pursue the possibility you are suffering from postnatal depression (again do not presume AND don’t instantly offer me pills)
This isn’t a comprehensive list but just some of my unprofessional ideas. What I would also like to see is us as a whole, as a community and society change the way we think about new mums.
Can we stop making it OK for them to be completely exhausted, can we stand back and say ‘you know what, she needs some help’. You know that old saying ‘it takes a village’ where the hell did the village go? When did it become OK for us to let these amazing ladies who birthed a human struggle alone until the point that they do in fact have a break down? When did it become OK let another person swim against the tide constantly, then judge them for not making it to shore?
So what was the outcome for me? I spoke to my dad! And a few wonderful people who saw my need for help. I realised it was OK to pass on some of the load I was trying to take.
I paired down the HIT exercise to some strong yoga. I focused more on my pranayama practice and I picked up my meditation again. I started to understand that I was in a constant high stress zone whether that be through work or the exercise I was doing. I practised what I preach and made some space for me. I also spoke to a lovely doctor who decided to run some test to check for any issues!
Thankful I am surrounded by lovely people and a very supportive husband, i understand this isnt always the case. But seeking out help wherever we can find it, whether thats friends or professionals should not involve them saying ‘your a new mum, you should feel like shit’