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Un poil' enceinte et des poussiereuh

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July 2015

I’m A Burnout Mum And Maybe You Are Too.

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Today, I woke up as usual. Tired. I tried my best to dig into my yoga routine but I could not. A terrible pain in my shoulders drew me back from my mat. So I skipped it. I havent been practicing yoga for two weeks now. The longest period ever in months. I don’t take any painkillers because I breastfeed.

Around 10’30 am, I was at the doctor office. An appointment I made for my daughter Tulsi. I already felt the tiredness as I witnessed her playing around. My eyes were filled with water as I was trying to make her avoid reducing the space to a perfect mess.

Typical mum you would think quietly.

By 11 am, we enter the doctor office. He gives a quick look to Tulsi who is full of energy and then he stares at me.  It will take him less then two minutes to tell me :

You are depleted. You are a burn-out mom. I think we need to take care of you before taking care of the baby.

When he said these words, I retained myself from crying. My eyes were filling again but this time, it was tears, real ones. How could this stranger tell from one look that I was burning out?

It’s on your face, he says when I try an attempt to comprehend his statement. Your face shows extreme tiredness and depletion.

I look at my husband, begging him to listen to what the doctor just said. For the first time in months, I feel completely understood, I feel that someone has just put a finger on what I’ve been feeling for a long time now. I’m not crazy, what I’m going through is not a random depression, something linked to the fact that I became a mum is making me sick.

Visibly sick.

So this doctor is saying : you are not alone. We will take care of you. Answering my quiet begging for help.

Only yesterday, we were having an argue with my husband about me being “overwhelmed”,” oversensitive”, “impossible” “rude”. He said:  living with you has become difficult.

When I first heard those words, of course I felt pain. But also, I felt guilty about my behavior, my anger, my incapacity to stay happy and motivated when I should feel so happy because I have a wonderful baby who is loved by almost everyone. I must live the most amazing experience, that is being a mum.

How come I’m not?

Some thought would suggest to me : you are a terrible person : so selfish, so full of ingratitude. But also, most of the times, I had this recurrent thought that is : help me. I don’t know what is happening to me. I’m just so tired. So tired, so empty.

The truth is I’ve come to the point where everything seems to be a difficult, complicated, impossible task. In the morning, I’m already depressed about the day starting and my only concern is to go back to sleep. When I look at my daughter, I often think that I’m not doing enough, that something is missing, that I could give more of love. With people, I quickly loose patience, and if I don’t in front of them (mainly because my work puts me in touch with people all the time with who I should be very friendly), I lose patience with myself and first and foremost I lose patience with my daughter. Tulsi. It’s not just that I yell at her (which occurred only once), but I feel the impossibility of having her around me, as if I was going to hurt her. I feel myself completely incapable of being around her because I can’t hold my nerves, I can’t keep calm, I need to be on my own to regain my spirits.

I’ve also been feeling very sad lately, incapable to really make up my mind about small projects, and at the same time always trying to be “perfect”, to be “around”, to be “connected”, “active”.

Always between two opposite states with major crisis where I just can’t do anything.

When the doctor pronounced the words : Burn out, I felt that for the first time since I gave birth, a name has been given to my behavior and to my feelings. I felt that it’s not “ME”, it’s a state that many mums do live but dont acknowledge.

Here a table of the symptoms of burnout according to :http://www.helpguide.org

Physical signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits

Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment

Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout

  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early

Burnout concerns any mum : stay at home mum, working mum, young mums. Anyone who experiences the symptoms above is probably concerned with burnout.

I’m a burnout mum, what do I do now ?

According to http://www.webmd.com/women/caregiver-recognizing-burnout?page=2,  first and foremost, a burnout caregiver should EXPRESS their feelings. They should talk to someone they trust about their feelings and frustrations.

I have just created on Facebook a group in order for mums to support each others. whether they are living this situation or feel the ability to help morally.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/866752793417983/

The website also suggest to get help ( at home), give ourself a break everyday to focus on our own needs ( an hour or two). A mum able to give IS a mum able to receive and listen to her own needs first.

“It’s also important for us mums, to EDUCATE ourselves ”

I completely agree with this argument because the moment I heard about the word “burnout mum” I felt instantly relieved. Putting a name on depression or disease is very important. It makes you feel less alone and more armed to face the future.

If I didn’t have the chance to meet this doctor today and to listen to those two simple words, I wouldn’t be writing this article right now.

He gave me the strength to talk about it and take my life in charge.

I bought the supplements I needed, had a sincere conversation with my husband who also felt relieved to acknowledge the syndrome I’ve been suffering of and also I was able to look at my daughter with more hope for our future.

I hope you will too. And if you are not concerned, be able to recognize a burnout mum and help her see things more clearly.

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One year of breastfeeding in pictures

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Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite

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Non. Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite. C’est vrai, j’aime mon enfant. Mais je ne suis pas parfaite pour autant. Et je n’ai pas l’intention de lui faire croire que je le suis.

Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite. Quand je me reveille après une nuit difficile, je ne souris pas a mon enfant tout de suite. Il me faut du temps pour me retrouver moi-même. Parfois il me faut des minutes. Parfois je ne souris pas. Je me rendors. Et c’est quelqu’un d’autre qui s’en occupe.

Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite. C’est vrai, j’allaite mon enfant. Mais beaucoup de fois aussi, je pense que je suis fatiguee, et que je n’ai plus envie de le faire. Aussi beaucoup de fois, je pense que j’ai juste envie d’une journee que pour moi. Sans  bebe.

Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite. Je ne passe pas toute ma journee a reflechir a comment rendre mon bebe heureux., a faire toutes les activites pour bebes, a lui enseigner tous les mots qu’il faut pour bebe, comme maman, papa, Odette ou meme bebe. Non. Je ne suis pas une maman parfaite. Je laisse ma fille gambader ou elle veut et parfois elle tombe. Et se releve. Et si on me voyait peut-être qu’on dirait : cette mere aurait du faire ceci ou cela. Mais je le sais bien que quoi que l’on fasse nous les meres, on ne sera jamais assez bien car c’est simple, on n’est pas des mères parfaites.

Et on ne veut pas le devenir.

Et puis d’abord, c’est quoi une mère parfaite? Ca veut dire quoi? Ca veut dire qu’on a tout le temps le rose aux joues, qu’on est tout le temps heureuse car on est devenue mère? Ca veut dire qu’on sacrifie chaque heure, chaque minute, chaque seconde après avoir accouche, car on est devenue mère? Ca veut dire qu’on ne doit jamais dire : je me sens pas bien, j’en peux plus, aidez-moi, je n’y arrive pas….

C’est quoi une mère parfaite? Pourquoi devrait-elle exister? Pourquoi devrait-il y avoir autant de pression sur les mères qui se sentent si coupables, qu’elles travaillent ou pas, qu’elles allaitent ou pas, qu’elle co-dodo ou pas et la liste est longue. Pourquoi oh dieu, pourquoi les mères se sentent-elles coupables? Pourquoi nous fait-on croire que dans la cour des mères il y a des competences et qu’on remplit les competences ou pas, qu’on est une bonne mère ou pas, qu’on est une mère parfaite….ou pas?

Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite.

Parfois je m’emporte, je crie, oui je crie et ma fille l’entend, et je m’entends  dire : tu ne devrais pas crier devant elle…Mais pourquoi? Cela arrive de crier, tant que ce n’est pas tout le temps. C’est humain. Pourquoi est-ce que nos bebes ne devraient pas voir notre partie humaine ? Pourquoi doit-on toujours prouver a nos bebes qu’on les aime alors que nous les aimons evidemment? Pourquoi cette culpabilite constante de ne pas faire assez?

Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite. Je ne veux pas d’autres enfants pour faire comme il faut ou comme les autres. J’aime mon enfant mais j’aime aussi ma liberte, voyager, travailler, ecrire. Grandir. Je ne veux pas d’autres enfants. Je ne me dis pas que je suis une mere dans l’absolu. Ce que je suis c’est la mère de ma fille. De Tulsi. C’est tout.

Je ne suis pas une mère parfaite. Parfois je trouve ca dur d’etre une mère, je trouve ca fatiguant, je trouve ca ennuyeux. Et puis parfois, je pense tout le contraire. Et entre les deux, je suis toujours la meme mère. Une mère pas parfaite. Une mère qui fait ce qu’elle peut.

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