Having hypothyroidism can be challenging and difficult, even when you have it well managed, add a new born into the mix and life can become extremely overwhelming and exhausting fast. Yes, life as a new mum is exhausting but thyroid fatigue is debilitating, it has the potential to engulf and consume you. Even though, I was extremely lucky and fell into my new role quickly and embraced every part of my beautiful new born, there were times my mind felt completely swamped. Sleep deprivation, thyroid brain fog and baby brain – I just couldn’t see a way out of the, seemingly, never-ending cycle.
My little boy will be turning one next month and I’m thrilled to share that my thyroid is back to being controlled, night feeds are a thing of the past and nappy changes are now a doddle. I feel I have finally clambered my way out of the depths of the fatigued black hole and have a much better grip on motherhood. Here are five lessons I have learnt through my journey of becoming a ‘Hypothyroid Mum’.
Don’t forget to take your medication – This is a given for most people suffering with a chronic illness but in the mist of sleep deprivation remembering the most basic of tasks can seem impossible. I try to take my medication at the same time each day, as I find the medication is more effective and I have more chance of remembering to take it if it is part of my routine. It might also be worthwhile to set a reoccurring alarm on your phone to jog your memory.
Food for thought – It’s all too easy to indulge in junk food when your energy levels are plummeting and your adorable new born is demanding every ounce of your being. However, I can assure you in the long run you will be left feeling worse if you don’t reach for those leafy greens. Those of you in the throes of sleep deprivation will probably be cursing at me through your screens, but if you can break the junk food cycle there is a good chance your energy levels will start to pick up and many of your hypothyroid symptoms will be eased. The key for me was organisation, batch cooking and rekindling my love for the slow cooker. I know this task can seem overwhelming but devoting a couple of hours to cooking wholesome meals each week turned out to be much easier and far more relaxing than I initially anticipated.
Your GP can be more helpful than you think – I was surprised with how accommodating my GP practice was when I had my son. I found it difficult to keep going to the pharmacy each month to pick up my repeat prescription but didn’t qualify for delivery. I also seemed to have weekly appointments for myself or my son (as he was born premature) or blood tests. After explaining I had a new born and it was a mammoth task getting out of the house some days they informed me about an app called Pharmacy2U who would sort out my prescription from dispensing to delivering and offered me telephone appointments instead. They changed my prescription from a month’s worth to three months and pre-booked my blood tests well in advance. I understand not all GP practices will offer these services but it’s definitely worth a polite phone call, in case they can help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help – I had a real problem with this, as I felt I was being lazy or people would think I wasn’t coping. I had to remind myself that I was living with a chronic illness and trying to make sense of motherhood at the same time. In order to be the best mum you can be you have to take time for yourself. Even if that’s just enjoying a hot cup of tea or someone offering to load the dishwasher.
Be patient with yourself – This is the most important lesson I have learnt on my journey. When the exhaustion is too much to bear remember everything will pass and with each stage or phase a new one will come to take its place, with new benefits and new challenges but nothing will last forever. Embrace the monumental change your body has had to come to terms with and the new person you are becoming.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and remember whether you have a thyroid problem or another chronic illness, you are an amazing warrior.