Mommy Fatigue Syndrome

The Symptoms:  Running on fumes. All the time. And when you should and can sleep at the end of the day, you suddenly have a second wind that keeps you up past 10 pm.

This is me. And has been me since my first child was born four years ago and has been more so since my second was born two years ago. I haven’t wanted to fully acknowledge or deal with it because I’m stubbornly attached to my “I have to” list.

Last summer, my friend Lois saw me and told me it was critical that I start paying attention to myself and my health.  She said something to the effect of, “You’re one of the most vibrant people I know and looking at your eyes now, you’re so run down you’re hanging on a thread.”

Both naturopaths that I’ve seen over the last year, along with an acupuncturist echoed each other in saying, “your adrenals are completely shot.”

I had no idea what that meant other than knowing that I’ve been addicted to adrenaline rushes most of my life and that maybe my current perpetual lack of energy or odd late night surges of energy within myself was out of whack. Each person I saw had similar advice as well: Go to bed at 10:00 at the latest. (Why am I still not doing this??). And carefully tend to my diet — avoiding high glycemic foods.

Yes, Ok. Will do! And then off I go to tend to my children, my new job, my blog….and everything on my “have to, have to, have to” list.

When I got home from work tonight at 6:00 pm and wanted to collapse on the couch with fatigue — but couldn’t because I had to take care of my children and finish putting dinner together and help them to eat and clean up and help them to bed — I came up with the Attachment Mama topic du jour: “Mommy Fatigue Syndrome.”

Predominantly impacting mothers, the true term for my physical state is called Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome.  Thirty seconds on Google brought up numerous sites offering helpful information.

The symptoms:

  • Fatigue, lethargy:
    • Lack of energy in the mornings, and also in the afternoon between 3 and 5 pm.
    • Often feel tired between 9 and 10 pm, but resist going to bed.
  • Lightheadedness (including dizziness and fainting) when rising from a sitting or laying-down position.
  • Lowered blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering (brain fog).
  • Consistently feeling unwell or difficulty recovering from infections.
  • Craving either salty or sugary foods to keep going.
  • Unexplained hair loss.
  • Nausea.
  • Alternating constipation and diarrhea.
  • Mild depression.
  • Decreased sex drive.
  • Sleep difficulties.
  • Unexplained pain in the upper back or neck.
  • Increased symptoms of PMS for women – periods are heavy and then stop (or almost stop) on the 4th day, only to start flow again on the 5th or 6th day.
  • Tendency to gain weight and inability to lose it – especially around the waist.
  • High frequency of getting the flu and other respiratory diseases – plus a tendency for them to last longer than usual.

Then I looked at the recommended solutions which included diet changes, of course. Because diet is everything!  And dang it, wouldn’t you know my nightly glass of red wine that I’ve been treating myself to since life got stressful 2 years ago is one of the no-no’s. Duh. Knew it. Haven’t wanted to deal with it.

Having read through all the dietary and lifestyle recommendations, I’m now going to sign off and do my best to get at least seven hours of sleep tonight.

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2 Responses to “Mommy Fatigue Syndrome”

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Oh girl, I hear you on this one! I’m happiest when I get 8 hours of sleep and eat right, but the more tired I get, the less likely it is to happen. But after 5 weeks on the road, I’m so exhausted. I’ve even been dipping my toe in the fast food pit! And I get very caught up in getting stuff done, even at my own expense. It’s almost like i’m asserting my self bu staying up until midnight working on my computer. So maybe it’s time to start dialing it down…again!

  2. Reggie says:

    Thanks for this – I have had the experience of craving sugary and salty food like never before in my life and I have never had a sweet tooth before. I then find sugar and/or caffiene really jack me up. I cry every few days. I feel v tired, but not as bad as before – in some ways, because Maya is sleeping longer stretches. However, Ifeel overwhelmed by toddler- ness, if I am tired or feeling v low. I feel I am especially overwhelmed by the extreme crying episodes, blaming myself as well as feeling irritable at times with the toddler requests. Then, swearing in my head and feeling guilty for these negative thoughts. Sex drive is totally down the tube too.

    OMG, I sounds terrible… it ain’t all bad, but, as you said in your other post recently “I ain’t gonna sugar coat it”.

    However, I am spending the morning away, on my own for a few hours at a coffee shop. I have been having more alone time, which really really helps, but I think I need more.

    THis has been a lovely week though with some uttely magical moments with my daughter, which keep me going.


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