I’ll freely admit I didn’t know the meaning of the word “exhausted” until I became a mother. Sound familiar?
My first child was a terrible sleeper. I distinctly remember telling my husband that I had ruined our lives the night we brought our son home, because he would not stop crying. In retrospect, I know I was speaking through a haze of extreme exhaustion and sleep deprivation – but the thought that those words actually left my mouth still makes me cringe.
I know I’m not alone when it comes to the drain that motherhood can have on mental and physical strength. New research from the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute has revealed one in five new mothers experience extreme tiredness and chronic exhaustion, for up to eighteen months after the birth of their first child.
The same study (which involved more than 1500 first-time mothers) also found that women who had a caesarean birth experienced a similar number of postpartum health problems as women who had a vaginal birth. The Institutes’ research also discovered that compared with women who had a vaginal birth, women who had a caesarean birth were more likely to report extreme tiredness and back pain at six to twelve months after the birth of their child.
Interestingly, researchers say another important find from the study is that some health problems, like tiredness, frequent coughs, cold and back pain increase up to eighteen months postpartum.
Did you experience exhaustion following the birth of your first child?