I’m willing to bet that every mom reading this post is tired. Am I right? It’s the cliché idea that all moms are busy, sleep deprived, and stressed the f out.
But not me.
I get lots of sleep. Probably too much of it, actually. Stressed? Compared to six months ago when I was raising my three kids by myself while my husband worked out of state, this is cake walk. Busy? Not even close. I purposely have my schedule free from commitments (except doctor appointments).
Sure, I still have extreme moments of stress, like when my nine-year-old roars at the top of his longs while playing monster with his little sister and I’m trying to make an important phone call. Bedtime is always a bit stressful, repeatedly shouting commands at them to shower, brush their teeth, and go to bed. And, of course, who can forget those days when paying the bills turn into a nightmare because you’ve got more obligations to pay than money to do it.
However, despite my relaxed lifestyle, somethings been off – I mean physically. I’ve had suspicions off-and-on over the last two years, including a time I asked a friend if she thought I was slurring my words too much. I tried to explain to her that I felt like my brain was slower to send the words to my mouth, causing me to stumble my sentences when I spoke. When she said she didn’t notice anything, that I was probably just stressed out, I dismissed it as such (but not before Googling stress and speech).
Still digging for answers, there are those stories I heard of pregnancy brain carrying over into motherhood – mommy brain, or as many refer to it, brain fog. Maybe I was just experiencing a normal level of forgettable moments. Totally possible, right?
But at times, my memory is the worst.
For example, practically as soon as I finish writing a blog post, I will have forgotten it. No lie. And recently, I read a brochure at my chiropractor’s office about…I don’t remember. (And I wrote this the same day of that visit.) When the nurse asked me if I read it, and I said, “Yes,” she proceeded to ask me what I had learned from it.
I had no words. Were it not because she was holding the brochure up in front of me, I wouldn’t have been able to quickly scan it for clue words to string together a sentence that made enough sense for her to believe me.
Phew, I almost looked like an idiot.
Anyway, I kid you not when I tell you Google and I are close friends. He serves as my memory bank. I love him!
But back to what I was saying (I had to reread to refresh myself on the point I’m leading up to)…
I knew something was off but didn’t have enough information to figure it out. I took vitamins daily, including a separate magnesium supplement that I started a few months ago when mild depression and anxiety symptoms crept in.
Yet, the main symptom I’ve ignored and haven’t found the answer for has been my fatigue.
Okay, so I know some of you are like, “Isn’t that the same as tired?” The answer isn’t that simple. It is the same, but it isn’t. My energy level was low, aka I felt fatigued. It led to wanting to nap, but it also meant I’d wake up with low energy, never feeling fully rested.
I can’t tell you how many doctor visits I’ve had over the last four years where I’ve also complained about my low sex drive and had my thyroid checked in addition to many other tests checking my electrolytes – everything normal.
More than one doctor said it was all in my head – whatever that means!
Of course, it’s a relief to hear that tests came back normal. But, it wasn’t an answer to that gut feeling that something was off – until a few weeks ago. During my initial visit to my new chiropractor (who is also a certified nutritionist), I took a simple postural hypotension test.
The result of this easy, no needles test? My seated blood pressure was normal, low even, but upon standing, my blood pressure dropped more than 20 points. This drop, also known as postural hypotension, was an indicator that my adrenal system wasn’t functioning properly.
Apparently, all my symptoms combined (mild depression, fatigue, low blood pressure, low sex drive, dizziness, brain fog) all point to an out of whack adrenal system, the same system responsible for my “fight or flight” stress responses.
What exactly are adrenal glands?
Briefly, the adrenal glands are responsible for producing cortisol – the stress hormone. This is produced to help our body combat daily stress. If it doesn’t function properly, it can lead to health problems.
If we don’t allow our body’s enough time to rest after extreme periods of stress, including when we are overcoming an illness, we can cause damage to our adrenal glands, thus throwing off the entire system. Anyone dealing with high levels of stress on a continuous basis is at risk of stressing their glands to a point of dysfunction, moms included.
Moms experiencing fatigue should have their adrenals checked
I want to urge my mom readers to conduct their own postural hypotension test (unless you already have an alternative natural medicine doctor who will perform the test for you). If you don’t have a blood pressure meter, borrow one from a friend or family member.
My doctor explained that before a thyroid problem is detected via blood work, your cortisol levels are already abnormal. Therefore, it isn’t enough, in my opinion, for a physician to only check your thyroid when you complain about fatigue.
I’m convinced that if I didn’t catch it when I did, my thyroid would have been the next thing affected.
Stress and mom go hand in hand. If your life has been anywhere near as stressful as my own, and especially if you are experiencing symptoms of fatigue, please get tested. If possible, seek a nutrition specialist. While your health insurance policy won’t pay for those types of visits, you will learn a lot about how to take care of your body using diet and nutrition, including the benefits of supplementation.
It only took about a week of taking supplements, issued by my nutritionist, before I felt results. Fatigue? Gone. Energy? Better. Dizziness? Gone. Sex drive? Better. Brain fog? I’m more focused.
Please listen to your body, mama’s. I am so glad I listened to my instincts and didn’t give up!