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Pregnancy, Parenthood and Perhaps Fear When Living With Chronic Fatigue

Pregnancy, Parenthood and Perhaps Fear When Living With Chronic Fatigue… Well actually, definitely fear. Before I start this, you should all know that I’m not pregnant (yet) I say yet as me and my partner Stephen want to have kids by the time we’re 30, or start trying when we’re 30. One of the two, I’m 26 at the moment.

Time goes by so fast from what I’ve learned over the past few years. I haven’t really changed and I can’t see myself changing, especially changing to become a parent. It’s not really a little change is it? It’s the biggest change of your life. This alone is quite a scary concept, add a brain injury into the mix and well it’s just plain fear.

At first I was only scared to become a parent because of my chronic fatigue, during pregnancy I’ll be out of use pretty much because of it (I used to joke that I’d become a sleeping robot) and from what I’ve seen from new parents, they have their own new ‘welcome to parenthood fatigue’ that takes a while to go away… Once again add ‘welcome to parenthood fatigue, oh and don’t forget about your brain injury chronic fatigue’ to the mix and what am I left with? The fear that I will be a shit mum, too tired to do anything.

I’ve spoken to my mum about this and she said “You have to think outside the box, you’ll have to nap when they baby naps” (basically plan your baby around your chronic fatigue) but from what I’ve heard from new parents you don’t nap when the baby naps because you don’t want to be too asleep just in case. This probably won’t apply to me as I can sleep through anything, but this is a common thing how do I know that that won’t happen? Will my pregnancy brain take over the brain injury brain and not let me sleep just in case..

I’ve also come to realise that after a while my child will realise that something is wrong with me (that sounds like a horrible way to describe myself… It will come to realise that I’m ill, does that sound better?) but what use is that when it’s a baby. I will have to look after that baby, it will be my priority in life. Will it take over every other priority like looking after myself properly? Resting properly? How am I going to look after a baby if I still get tired from nothing at the moment?

And if this wasn’t enough for my poor brain to deal with, this was thrown into my mind the other week: “What are you going to do when you have a kid and can’t afford to forget things?”, Stephen said this during an argument… He regretted is soon after and told me to forget about, so I tried. 10 minutes later I burst out crying in the car when I realised he was right. I hadn’t even thought about this, it had been on my mind a few days and I asked him: “Do you think I’m going to be a shit mum?”, he said “No, of course not” and I asked why he would say something like that. We spoke about it for a while and agreed that we will practice my memory. Getting into the habit of remembering to write things down. Things like:

  • Writing something down on the groceries list as soon as I realise I need it
  • Setting up a weekly reminder for me to take out the bins
  • If some work needs done on the house write it down (for example: I swept the front yard today, little things like that)
  • Anything important really

We actually use a great app for this: Wunderlist, we have shared lists and I have my own. You can set due dates, reminders and assign someone to a task. It makes everything so much simpler than using paper and I’d say a must have for anyone who has lots of lists in their lives!

So thanks to technology, the fear for this part of parenthood isn’t so big anymore. In fact, I think I’m back to just worrying about the chronic fatigue part of it (sarcastic yay)

I guess the positive side to it is that everyone always says that once you have the baby it all comes naturally and it’s not as scary as you thought it would be. I don’t focus on that much though because I’m struggling so much with my chronic fatigue at the moment… Approaching 4 years since my injury now and I’ve learnt that if chronic fatigue doesn’t go away after 1 – 2 years then you’ll have it for life.

I don’t have a conclusion for this post as it’s an ongoing thought. However, I’d love to hear from parents who had children after a brain injury and how it was? Or any parents who had children before the injury and if/how it changed?

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