Maxed Out After Having Children

Did having children set your chronic condition, or illness over the edge, and into a flare?

I spoke to a fellow mommy recently, who also isn’t feeling well, and we both had this same feeling…we knew our physical limitations before children. But it wasn’t until AFTER children, that we physically maxed out.

In my twenties, and before children, I knew full well that I was battling physical limitations. But since my disease was supposed to be in remission, I powered through severe bouts of fatigue, black outs, double vision, headaches, an inability to hear well out of both ears, difficulty taking deep breaths, tremors, muscle weakness, digestive issues, and exercise intolerance.

However, in my twenties, I was only responsible for the physical implications of taking care of myself. I would go to work, mask my symptoms, and come home to rest on the couch. Go out with friends, mask my symptoms, and rest in bed until noon on the weekends. With no children to take care of, I always had room to rest when I pushed my body too far physically.

And then pregnancy came. My body handled things pretty well until I was put on bed rest. After I delivered my first child, boy was my body maxed out. By maxed out, I mean that I was physically pushed beyond what a normal and healthy mother could sustain. Not only was my delivery borderline what a medical malpractice suit would entail, but our firstborn had severe reflux, had to be fed with limited amounts of milk, was not comfortable laying down flat, and most of the time he had to be placed on a wedge to sleep. He also didn’t sleep more than two hours at a time until he was close to 12 months. Yes, you read this correctly. WE didn’t sleep more than two hour increments for almost a year, and it was pure torture. I was a complete disaster, and so nauseated when I woke up for the day, that I lost all of my pregnancy weight, roughly 55 lbs. within a month. My body was in a total systemic crisis.

It first became clear that I was struggling after having children, when I couldn’t put on my firstborns diaper, and  his clothes for the day, without getting winded. I couldn’t even brush my teeth without having to sit down and rest afterwards. When I saw other moms whisking their young children to Target, the zoo, and playgrounds, where I was barely getting my children dressed for the day, I knew something was inherently wrong with me.

By the time I started to understand my journey was not normal motherhood fatigue, and that I was going through a health crisis, we found out we were pregnant with our second child. Even though I knew I was not physically capable of managing one child, let alone two children, we moved forward with the pregnancy, and simply resorted to get help from a nanny.

Even with child care support, two children less than two years apart left my body taxed. I continued to lose weight, and when my hair started falling out in “chemo” clumps, it finally became clear, that something was really not right. It also became clear that back-to-back pregnancies and managing the day-to-day nuances of raising children had set my chronic illness into a flare. I was experiencing something more than just normal mommy hood fatigue….and it was apparent that even the strongest of coffee couldn’t cure my situation.

Did having children set your chronic condition, or illness over the edge, and into a flare?

By mommyisntfeelingwell

Mommy has been battling chronic illness for most of her life and has always struggled to live life actively. Though she was not diagnosed with debilitating conditions until adulthood; it was not until after diagnoses, and even after having children, that she realized her lifelong fatigue, and lacking ability to perform motherhood duties, were validated. Mommy Isn’t Feeling Well is a real-life and cathartic blog focused on navigating the struggles of motherhood and chronic illness.

3 replies on “Maxed Out After Having Children”

Wow you’re amazing and I see we have a lot in common. I recently gave birth to twins and even though I feel lucky to have them I too feel like I can’t give them what they need. I don’t have a support group and feel I need it. It’s been very difficult to try and heal myself since I don’t have the luxury of resting. My husband is a smart man and understands my illness but makes me feel like most… if I don’t look sick then I must be fine. I’m told to rest and not worry about chores but he’s a slob and won’t do it either. It’s easy to say “well just get some rest” and I’m magically going to go into remission with a day of rest. Honestly I’m on my own. Wish people understood and cared

Hi Mel – Thank you soooo much for the awesome feedback and support! I am thrilled you found me, and the little community I have started for this VERY reason! Are you by any chance active on Facebook? If so, we have a private/closed group for some of us that like to have “offline” conversations about these topics! I cannot tell you how much I can relate to the “but you don’t look sick” — ugh. At my worst, it was excruciating to hear those words, but even worse to hear from those closest to you, who you would like to think had a different, more empathetic opinion! Sending warm vibes over to you tonight!

Oh no I don’t. I understand about the privacy. I’ll keep checking the site for any additional posts

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