Ongoing child rearing responsibilities and postpartum depression, particularly experienced by mothers, are closely related to exhaustion during pregnancy. Two recent studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) describe “burnout” as a distinct type of parental fatigue associated with symptoms specifically related to the role of parenting.
Mom exhaustion is a form of fatigue that occurs as a result of feeling emotionally and physically overwhelmed by parenting. It is often accompanied by a loss of self-sense and the relinquishment of control, as well as fears and experiences related to not feeling good enough.
Although the symptoms of mommy burnout are similar to professional fatigue, the symptoms that result specifically from parenting, such as emotional and physical exhaustion, differ in the overall sense of parental incompetency and the emotional distancing of children.
Unlike professional burnout, mommy burnout cannot simply be solved by leaving the workplace or changing jobs, as there is a distinct sense of being trapped in a situation with no apparent way out.
What Leads to Maternal Exhaustion?
In the case of new mothers or pregnant women, the most likely cause of sleep disruption is exhaustion. Although further studies are needed to verify this, it is possible that hormonal fluctuations play a role in sleep disruption during pregnancy. In the postpartum period, a mom who is constantly feeling exhausted tends to get less sleep during the day due to the infant’s feeding schedule, and more sleep during the night.
Consequently, the physical and psychological well-being of the mother, as well as her interpersonal connections, job status, and ability to parent, were negatively impacted. In both scenarios, individuals who engaged in breastfeeding experienced a slightly greater reduction in sleep. On average, studies have indicated that mothers tend to lose approximately 41.2 minutes of sleep at night throughout the stages of pregnancy and after giving birth.
Mothers who react to every need of their child and try to anticipate and take on too many tasks often go far beyond what is seen as perfect parenting, resulting in burnout. The causes of mommy burnout are often closely linked to the parenting role, with symptoms involving incompetence and an underlying fear. Notably, mothers of children over 18 months old tend to be more closely connected to burnout, with sleep-related tasks being a common factor rather than simply parenting tasks.
These overwhelmed moms have a tendency to invest over time in their maternal role until the underlying cause of exhaustion becomes fear. Constantly striving to attain unrealistic goals set by society, the mother eventually takes a toll on her emotional and physical health. Whether it’s securing the future of their children or preparing fresh meals every day, the pressure of raising well-behaved and well-dressed children takes its toll.
Generally, this maternal anxiety centers on three main concerns:
Signs of Mommy Exhaustion
In keeping with the theme of fear and the three key issues noted above, typical mommy burnout symptoms often include feelings of:.
How Can You Overcome Parental Exhaustion?
If you believe that experiencing burnout may be important to act on, realize that the perfect mother doesn’t exist. Don’t let unrealistic ideals create internal or external pressures that undermine your capacity and self-confidence.
Ultimately, mastering the skill of being adequate rather than flawless will make you a more effective mother to your children in the future. One crucial element of experiencing mommy burnout is the anxiety of not being a sufficiently competent mother.
More significant than accomplishing tasks for your children or consistently getting ready for their future is establishing a positive connection with your children and cherishing the moments you share with them. Keep in mind that each family situation is one-of-a-kind.
The Hazards of Being an Exhausted Mother
If you recognize any of these warning signs, it may indicate that you are exhausted, which is a typical symptom of mommy burnout.
When to Request Assistance
Whenever you find yourself feeling overwhelmed and over-striving in your role as a mother, don’t hesitate to ask a trusted friend or family member for help. Asking for assistance doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone.