“My strength is gone,” every mother of a small child said these words at least once. Unfortunately, for many mothers, life “through I can’t” is the rule rather than the exception. At first glance, modern society is an ideal place for raising children. We have a well-established and comfortable life with washing machines and microwaves, we have diapers and baby food, our children do not die from simple diseases, and in general, motherhood should be a very pleasant and easy experience. But, unfortunately, everything is not so simple.
Having given birth to a child, a modern woman, firstly, finds herself in complete social isolation and receives sole responsibility for his health and well-being. Secondly, few of us are ready for this event – the shadow sides of motherhood are told little and reluctantly, and our experience with babies is usually not enough to form our own opinion. Therefore, having received in our hands an incomprehensible, eternally screaming lump, to which no instruction manual is attached, we understand that what we got involved in is very far from advertising images of rosy-cheeked babies and laughing mothers.
Moreover, as soon as a woman goes into the category of “mother”, a whole range of social expectations immediately falls on her. A mother should be ideal, take care of the child’s health, development, and future mental health at the same time, follow the latest pedagogical science, and at the same time be an excellent hostess, not “start” herself, “get in shape after childbirth”, stay an interesting conversationalist and an attractive lover for her husband, to continue to develop as a person. And ideally, to break in two and at the same time build a dizzying career and spend all the time with the child. How is this possible? No way. But you’re a mom – you’ll think of something.
Childcare itself is a very demanding, 24/7 job with no lunch breaks or weekends, a job that is almost impossible to plan and yields very little return. People around you are usually not very impressed with your new status either. You are “just sitting at home” – why should you be praised? Why are you so tired? And the main companions of motherhood — lack of enough sleep, time alone and social interaction — do not make life easier either. All this, seasoned with a thick sense of guilt for not being a good enough mother, not coping, breaking down and not rejoicing at the miracle that has appeared in your life, just leads to maternal burnout.
8 signs of maternal burnout
Constant fatigue. Even if you slept well or spent some time alone, this fatigue does not disappear anywhere. And very often you just want to lie down, close your eyes and cry from fatigue and impotence.
Sleep problems. You cannot fall asleep, even if the child is already asleep. You are haunted by disturbing thoughts, you cannot relax, you always find enough “urgent things” that are more important than sleep.
Irritability, difficulty controlling anger and aggression. If you lash out and yell at your kids or your husband, break your plates and snarl in annoyance, the problem is most likely not that you are a terrible mother and a bad person. Most likely you are very tired and on the verge.
Concentration problems, cognitive decline, forgetfulness. If you used to love to read, but now you can hardly keep your attention on one paragraph of text or follow the plot in the series, if you constantly forget everything and can’t concentrate, then you probably have too much responsibility and your brain just can’t cope with the burden placed on it. tasks.
Nutrition problems. You may completely lose your appetite and you eat “because you need to”, remembering this once a day, or vice versa – you are irresistibly drawn to junk or sweet food and you can hardly stop, even reaching saturation.
Loss of joy, feeling of disappointment and emptiness. You no longer enjoy the things that used to bring pleasure, you find it difficult to see any meaning in your life, your self-esteem has decreased and you feel despair and emptiness.
Health problems. You suddenly began to get sick a lot with colds or other minor illnesses. You do not have serious problems, but something constantly aches, hurts and causes bodily discomfort.
You stopped dreaming. You are often covered with a feeling of hopelessness – it seems to you that this will continue forever, that your life has ended and there will no longer be anything interesting, nothing joyful in it.
If you have noticed more than three of these symptoms in yourself, it is worth sounding the alarm – your battery has run out, you are burnt out and you cannot continue in the same spirit – this is fraught with serious health problems and a significant decrease in the quality of life.
What can you do to help yourself?
Go to the doctor. Having noticed such symptoms in yourself, the first thing to do is to consult a psychiatrist and exclude depression. Postpartum depression is a rather insidious thing and, if left untreated, can accompany us for many years after the birth of a child. Pharmacological treatment in combination with psychotherapy in most cases in a month or two will return you to normal life, give you new energy and joy.
Simplify your life. It is very difficult to give up the starting place in the race for “perfect motherhood,” but it is absolutely necessary if you want to maintain mental health – yours and your child’s. No one will die if the floor in the apartment is washed less often, no one will die from unironed clothes, heated food, and an extra cartoon if mom needs to rest. Children perfectly grow up healthy and happy without most of our super efforts, but without a calm and rested mother, it is much more difficult.
Ask for help, look for your own and talk about your feelings. Do not be afraid to talk to loved ones about your condition, do not be afraid to ventilate your thoughts about motherhood, even if they are not the brightest. Look for your own – support groups on the Internet, girlfriends and acquaintances with whom you can be honest and vulnerable, and not seem like a terrible mother to yourself. Ask for any help you can get – from a partner, from relatives, from girlfriends. Yes, there are situations when this is not possible, but in most cases, people nearby are ready to help – you just have to explain to them how.
Praise yourself, and in no case scold. Life with a child is quite monotonous and routine, and it is difficult to constantly notice all that you do for him and for the family. It is very important to note (you can even write it down in a special diary) everything that you did well today – played for ten minutes with your child, washed the dishes, went for a walk, cooked dinner. And do not scold if something did not work out of this – ideal people do not exist and we all cope exactly as best we can. You are always enough.
Find a place in your life for yourself. This is perhaps the most important point. In order not to burn out and have the strength to communicate with a child, you must first of all “feed” yourself with attention – remember who you were before the baby was born, set aside at least an hour a day to take care of yourself – oversleep for an extra hour, take up a hobby, take a walk alone, take a bath, call a friend. The main thing in this is not to do what the magazines advise and what “should” be done, but exactly what you want at the moment.
Anna Topilina, culturologist, social worker
In order to cope with burnout, it is important to remember the most important thing: becoming a mother, you have not ceased to exist, you are just as important, necessary and interesting person as before, your needs and desires are important, and no less than the needs of your child . And care is the same oxygen mask that you first need to put on yourself, and only then take care of others.