Motherhood: I’m not ungrateful, I’m just exhausted.

motherhood_im not ungrateful im just

There’s no denying that motherhood is hard. I used to hate to hear the whining and complaining from tired mothers who found their daily lives hard, mundane and even depressing at times.

I have heard some mums describe their children as ‘beautiful parasites’ or ‘lovable vampires’ who just drain the life right out of you. For someone struggling to have children, it just all sounds so naive and ungrateful. But, now I get it. I was the naive one.

I’d start to feel brain numb from a combination of the exhaustion and lack of mental stimulation.

I didn’t realise just how much of my life a child would take. I didn’t realise that I couldn’t have a shower without having to drag the baby bouncer into the bathroom, and play peekaboos with the baby while trying to wash my hair. I didn’t realise that I’d have to do the same thing while trying poop, to avoid the endless screaming that would otherwise occur because the baby had started to understand that mummy was no longer nearby. I didn’t realise that I would have no more than 15 consecutive minutes to myself. I didn’t realise that I would run on 3 hours sleep a night for 6 months straight. I didn’t know I’d start to feel brain numb from a combination of the exhaustion and lack of mental stimulation.

I struggle to see my body as anything other than a vehicle that helps keep my baby girl alive.

See, even reading what I’m writing now makes me sounds ungrateful. But, I’m not. I have a beautiful baby girl that I tried for years to have. I went through miscarriage, multiple surgeries, pain, agony and depression to have to have her. I am infinitely grateful.

I’m just so damn tired, and the whole experience of motherhood has left me feeling like a shadow of my former self. I don’t even recognise myself any more. I look different and I feel different too. I’m more emotional, and I’m more emotionally needy of my husband’s attention. I’ve always been so independent, but now I need friends to talk to. I’ve always felt sexy and body confident, and now I struggle to see my body as anything other than a vehicle that helps keep my baby girl alive.

There are times I just cry from numbness and exhaustion. Other mums tell me they have done the same; and that as a result, they have often sat there wondering whether they have post natal depression. I’ve been assured by community nurses that all I’m feeling is a consequence of being tired and in need of both ‘sleep’ and ‘me time’. While that’s been amazing news to hear, it leaves me wondering – how do I go about getting more of those two things? I fear that if i can’t find a way to get more sleep and personal time, it may potentially drive me to a darker place.

If any mothers out there care to share their tips, I’d love to hear them.




Author and Managing Editor E Fegan

Eleni Fegan is the founder and Managing Editor of DearBub Blog and Magazine which began from a personal journey of research and healing. Her motivation for DearBub is beautifully summarised in her Editor’s Letter“I realised that there is beauty to giving voice to our experiences, and raising an awareness that we are not alone in them. I realised the immense power that ‘sharing’ had in transforming our sense of self and being through creating connection”. 

#Content in this article has been by edited by E Fegan. Please apply credit if referencing this article.

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2 Comments on "Motherhood: I’m not ungrateful, I’m just exhausted."

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5 years 10 months ago
its hard to know where to start this other than to say please don’t beat yourself up, every single Mum goes through this to some degree. My doctor told me women who are the most successful and independent often struggle the hardest post birth as they undergo such a dramatic life change and suddenly have very little control. My son is almost two and life has now settled into a delightful rhythm but those first 6-8 months were really really tough. The best advice I got when I was in the trenches was “you can’t pour from an empty cup”… Read more »
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5 years 10 months ago
Spot on Deanna. That feeling of losing a sense of control is so hard to deal with. Unlike other things in life (like career, education etc), motherhood feels like something that’s almost impossible to master. As soon as you feel like you have worked it out, things change again as they go through the next phase of their development. It’s quite a challenge, and the exhaustion and sense of ‘losing yourself’ creeps in to make it even harder. I love that saying – “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. It is so so true, and a saying I will… Read more »