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The 5 Stages of Fatigue I Never Knew Before Motherhood

Before I had children I knew two stages of tiredness: tired and not tired. Two children later, I now know I was missing out on the real fatigue party. Note: the ‘not tired’ stage is yet to feature again.


1. The Warm Up

Mostly commonly encountered during pregnancy (for the first time). You get hit with overwhelming exhaustion. Growing a human is very hard work. Remedy = sleeping whenever you like, for as long as you like. Weekend lie-ins are essential. Surely getting up to a baby will be the same as getting up to pee five times a night…right? (ah denial is a beautiful thing).

2. The Super Hero

Also known as the adrenaline rush.

It starts just after birth.

“I have not slept for 30 hours, I pushed this baby out, I am a mother, correction I am a SUPER HERO!!!” Who needs this thing called sleep really?!

Also commonly encountered after periods of very little sleep – sick child awake all night? Don’t worry I can work the next day. Super hero’s don’t sleep at night, I don’t need to either.

3. The Crash

Typically occurs 2-3 days after Stage 2. It smacks you in the face. Your limbs are like lead, your brain, body and soul are screaming for sleep. The words that come out of your mouth are vile, sharp and designed to hurt (especially those who are asleep when you are awake, husbands are common victims). You collapse anywhere anyhow; the nursing chair, the bathroom floor, slumped over the laundry basket…. The house is in lock down, you wear the same pjs for days and like a zombie you stumble around wondering what the hell just hit you (reminder it is called fatigue).

4. The Fog

Somehow you move out of stage 3. Maybe periods of slightly more sleep (I said slightly, keep the vile words down please). You do not try and put formular in the dog bowl and you can actually put on clothes that are respectable to be seen in public. However, often the simplest tasks can just take forever. A sleep at some point in the day is essential just to make it through. At this stage, you will constantly crave stage 1. Wonder what the hell you were complaining about stage 1.Will you ever sleep properly again? (Hang in there, you will...they will be teenagers eventually and then we will be dragging them up!).

5. The Master

You have achieved mastery of the fatigue.

Common occurrence if the little human(s) are only waking about once a night (about is very liberal here). You do not need to collapse in the middle of the day just to function, maybe the odd power nap. You have your survival skills down pact and you take pride in your fatigue mastery skills. Sometimes at 5pm the vile-word side effect still happens but for the most part coffee keeps everything managed. The great thing about fatigue is that you do tend to forget things, including the just how fun stages 2-4 really are…..

You get pregnant again and are back at stage 1 PLUS experience repeating cycles of stages 2-4 (stage 5 on occasion)…..party on!!

Who says we are not super hero’s….clearly, we really are!!


xxx Dr Julie Bhosale

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