The level of tired a new mom experiences is nothing if not hellish. I'm pretty sure there isn't even a definition for this type of exhaustion. It's a hallucinogenic state and no amount of caffeine can remedy those dark circles beneath your eyes (believe me, I've tried). So it'd be cool if others didn't make things harder, including telling us new moms how we feel. That's why you can bet your you-know-what there are some things a new mom really hears when you tell her she's "just tired." Guys, it's not positive.
It took an insane amount of effort to feel somewhat normal in the days and months following my daughter's birth. After all, she was my first child and, up until then, my life had been fairly simple. So to say I was devastatingly tired when I was postpartum would be a drastic understatement. I knew I looked like crap, because I felt like it. I knew some conversations I had were incoherent, because I could feel my head spinning as I tried to speak. And I knew anything I said, or did, wouldn't be taken seriously. I knew people were quick to dismiss I feeling I had because, in the end, it was easy for them to blame fatigue.
After I was diagnosed of postpartum depression (PPD) I realized that was were actually red flags and warning signs were frequently ignored by friends and family members. To most people I was "just being tired" or "needed to rest." If my doctor decided not to continue asking questions to gauge how I was really feeling, I have no doubt my depression would have spiraled out of control. So with that in mind, and because tired or not we all deserve to be taken seriously, here's what a new mom actually hears when you tell her she's "just tired."
"You Look Terrible"
Whenever someone said I was "just tired," I automatically heard, "You look horrible." Yeah, that's not helpful.
"Your Concealer Is A Joke"
I pretty much assumed my makeup was failing me whenever someone dismissed how I felt. It's not like I didn't try to look like a human being who was getting her recommended eight hours of sleep every night, because holy hell I was trying so hard. So if someone was quick to tell me I was "just tired," it was my reminder to invest in a new, heavy-duty concealer.
"Your Other Feelings Don't Matter"
Because I was so tired, and it was assumed I was tired, any other feeling I had went unnoticed or swept away. When I had a legitimate headache? Apparently I was just tired. When I had a bad day for reasons other than being a mom? Probably tired. No one wanted to stop and actually listen to what I was telling them.
"You're The Worst Mom Ever"
Unless you're going to tell a new mom you're there to save the day by cooking, cleaning, and giving her a damn break, don't say anything at all. I
I actually started to assume everyone low-key thought I was the worst mom in the world, because everyone kept telling me all my problems were because I was "just tired." I mean, everyone is tired all the time, right? So if people were constantly reminding me of my level of exhaustion, perhaps I wasn't really cut out for this whole mom thing.
"I'm So Glad I'm Not You"
I always felt like people were either mocking me or rubbing it in my face that they didn't have to live their lives while running on empty. No new mom should hear a subtext like, "I'm glad I don't have your life" as often as I did. I was, and always will be, grateful for my life and regardless of how tired I am.
"You'll Never Sleep Again"
Thanks, Dr. Buzzkill. Because you know everything about my life and how much (or how little) sleep I'm getting, you'd rather push me into a deeper hole of depression by reminding me that it doesn't, in fact, get easier. You'll tell me how they go through different stages of sleep, except it doesn't make me feel better. Oh no, it makes me feel a hell of a lot worse than I already do.
Be positive and optimistic around new moms, people. We need all the good vibes we can get.
"You're Being Ridiculous"
No, you're being ridiculous when you totally dismiss my feelings simply because I'm a mom. A baby literally changes everything and, as a mom for the first time, I could've done without people assuming my constant lack of sleep was the reason behind every feeling I had.
Bottom line, new moms need more support, understanding, and help than a simple "you're just tired" could possibly give them. Listen to us, and I mean really listen, because that can truly make all the difference in the world.