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Ask Alina – Tired Mama Needs Help

Dear Ask Alina,

My husband and I have been married for almost five years and recently welcomed Baby #2. Although I am in a house full of humans and noise, I feel so alone. I have been experiencing panic attacks and I am constantly tired. For context, I am a stay-at-home mom and all responsibilities fall on me. HELP.

Tired Mama

Alameda Post - A tired mama lays on a bed with a baby and dogs

Dear Tired Mama,

You are not alone in this. Let’s work on reconnecting you and your husband, as well as looking at your well-being. Just to ensure we don’t miss anything, have you had a physical with your doctor since the birth of Baby #2? If not, please make an appointment to check that your fatigue is not caused by a medical issue.

Do you regularly get out of the house? Take Baby #2 out on walks? Meet other moms of newborns? Being around women who are in the same phase as you can be very comforting. If you live in Alameda and are on Facebook, consider joining the “Alameda Mamas” group. It is a great group to meet other women who may be available to meet up with you in a local park. If you are into exercising, consider the “No Excuse Mom Alameda, CA” group. It is a very supportive group that meets in local parks with their babies/kids for free exercise.

It’s very common to lose connection with our spouse when we become parents. We are hyper-focused on ensuring that our babies are okay and the house is running smoothly. I recommend you and your husband start by scheduling a weekly “meeting.” Identify a time and place where you will meet and give each other your full attention. An example would be Tuesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. in the kitchen, over a cup of tea, when both kids are in bed. I encourage you to make these meetings consistent, which means finding a day and time that is realistic and acceptable to both of you.

The premise of these meetings is to discuss each of your needs and how the two of you can work as partners. More often than not, when I work with couples in a young family, “working Dads” want to be supportive partners. I also find that when couples begin to talk about household responsibilities, they learn that they are operating under false assumptions. For example, you may feel that having a freshly cooked meal every day when Dear Husband is done with work is a must, while he may be perfectly happy with prepackaged meals and be more interested in sitting at the table with the family.

Now let’s briefly touch base on panic attacks. This happens when our nervous system goes into action despite lack of any physical threat. Although this feels uncomfortable, remember you are not in danger and this is temporary. Two tools to try: (1) Slow down your breathing, inhale 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Repeat five to ten times. (2) Focus on your surroundings. What are you seeing? What are you smelling? What are you hearing? What is going on outside of your body? When your thoughts return to your symptoms, bring your attention back to your surroundings and practice slow breathing again.

Alina Baugh is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. Ask Alina is for informational purposes only. This article does not constitute medical advice, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, mental-health professional, or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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