Exhausted at birth? This could be postnatal depletion NOW
It is normal to be exhausted at times as a mother, but when that exhaustion gets out of hand and you are always overtired and overworked, you can experience postnatal exhaustion.
In addition, it is also a symptom to often freak out, be irritable and then have a tremendous feeling of guilt towards your children, says Anke Velstra, obstetrician and doula who specializes in childbirth and trauma.
They mainly recognize postnatal fatigue due to chronic fatigue and hypersensitivity. Depending on the personal situation and the basis of exhaustion, symptoms such as constant switching on, anxiety attacks, low libido, concentration problems, forgetfulness, a lack of a deep mother-child connection, hypersensitivity, feelings of guilt and sometimes depression can also occur.
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Not a scientific term
This is not the same as being tired during the postpartum period because your baby won’t sleep because you can have the discomfort months or years after the birth. “The feeling of being lost in motherhood is also widespread,” says Velstra.
Australian doctor Oscar Serrallach was the first to point out postnatal fatigue in his 2018 book Postnatal depletion healing. He said it would affect up to 50 percent of mothers. However, postnatal depletion is not a scientifically recognized term.
“By institutionalizing the term, women could be better cared for. And it’s less likely to be wrongly called “postpartum depression”. “
Desirée Domacassé, health scientist
“But it should be. Otherwise, women think that extreme fatigue and double feelings are only part of it. Institutionalizing that term would allow women to be better cared for. And are less likely to experience” postpartum depression “or Incorrectly refer to “fatigue”. ” says Desirée Domacassé, health scientist, postpartum therapist and nutritionist.
Birth trauma and insufficient recovery
According to Velstra, traumatic delivery is an important factor in the development of postnatal depletion. “If you’re scared during labor, do it Fight or flight Mode. But you cannot fight or flee while you work. Then mothers switch to the freeze mode: they cooperate and do not express fear, but they experience terrible fear within themselves. This fear and alertness stays in the body. “
This leads to ailments like irritability that are on all the time and therefore cannot rest even when your baby is finally asleep. That leads to chronic fatigue, said the doula.
“Because you are so vulnerable during childbirth, trauma and fear remain in your mind and body.”
Desirée Domacassé, postpartum therapist and nutritionist
“Because you are so vulnerable during childbirth, trauma and fear remain in your body and mind and you are actually already 1-0 behind. You start traumatized after the birth and should be grateful because the baby is healthy. And if one Woman feels bad, she is often ashamed that she does not seek help to cope with the birth trauma, “adds Domacassé.
After delivery, your body needs all the strength, support, and time to get back to its old age. Domacassé: “If you go back to work too quickly and go back to work after giving birth, your reserves may be depleted, which leads to a lack of essential vitamins and minerals.”
“Such a deficiency usually occurs during pregnancy because your baby is getting all the nutrients it needs first and you are getting the leftovers. However, taking the right supplements and eating after pregnancy can somewhat prevent and reduce this chronic fatigue.”
Prevent or Cure?
According to Velstra, postnatal depletion caused by traumatic delivery can never be completely prevented. “You cannot plan what will happen during childbirth and whether it will be traumatic. However, you can learn more in advance about good communication during childbirth to prevent things from happening that you do not agree with, if possible. “”
“And by being your best, healthiest self during conception and pregnancy, you can reduce fatigue and run out of reserves during and long after pregnancy.”
Take your complaints seriously, do not be afraid to seek help and talk about your tiredness, feelings and possible birth trauma. That will help put everything in place and reduce stress and, with it, fatigue, says Domacassé.