Lilly weaned unexpectedly in February.

Part of me was really excited about this—I’ve been waiting to have my very own body to my very own self for eight years. But my body had other ideas. That week, my family practice doctor mentioned the likelihood of adrenal fatigue and pointed me to some resources. (Side note- if you google “adrenal fatigue,” about half the hits will tell you why this isn’t a real diagnosis. Many of the remaining sites will explain to you why everyone has adrenal fatigue. The few that are left have been helpful, but there’s a lot to wade through. Let me reiterate: this came from a legitimate doctor.) Anyhow, I started looking into it, and before the recommended book even arrived, my body CRASHED.

It was like my body said, “You’re not sustaining the life of a little person? Awesome. You’ve been exhausted since 2010, and you haven’t rested well. We’re going to fix that now.”

I lost all of March.

I went to bed early, dragged myself out of bed late, fell asleep by accident in the middle of the morning with mischief happening all around me, and again on purpose in the afternoon while the littles were down and the bigs watched TV. When I wasn’t asleep, I was counting up the ridiculous number of hours I’d slept and counting down to when I’d get another chance. At one point, it seemed like a particularly good idea to find a way to sleep forever. (Before you freak out on this point, please know I am not, was not suicidal. Ideation is apparently a thing that can happen when you get that tired. I handled the incident responsibly with people who care about me.)

My emotional responses range from resignation to relief, with the occasional spike of rage just for variety. If this sounds like depression to you, I agree. Except I’m pretty fully medicated for that, and the SSRI is taking care of the anxiety symptoms, so I assume it should be covering any chemical depression as well. I’m just. so. tired.

This last six weeks have been bananas. I haven’t lost them to some adrenal fatigue blackout like I did March, but there’s been a lot of travel and a lot of trying to find pockets for rest and saying “no” to good things in favor of naps. Saying “no” to things like keeping my house in a state of good enough and keeping my children and their clothing relatively clean. I’m in survival mode here, and two and a half months in, I’m learning to be okay with it, to figure out which pieces are truly necessary. It’s educational! Yay, learning!

Why am I sharing this here? Why have I spent hours over the last weeks squeezing out these words? I don’t need sympathy and I don’t need help. (I have lots of that.) I want to warn you. I feel like somebody probably warned me and I didn’t listen, because I thought I didn’t have the option to rest because little people. But on the off chance you need to hear it and are in a space to listen, I had to tell you what my life is like right now, in hopes that you don’t repeat my mistakes.

Take care of your body.

Even when it feels selfish. Because you know what sucks your ability to live your life for your people? This. Ain’t nobody got time for THIS. I spent YEARS doing the things for all the people and then working my tail off after the babies went to bed to keep on top of the house. Now I spend sizable chunks of time leaving the children unsupervised because I cannot stay awake.

Don’t be like me.

Get rest. Feed your body good things. Exercise, but not like you hate yourself. Self-neglect is not worth it. I know taking care of you is hard. Really. Because here I am with four kids ages one to seven, trying to figure out how to fit 13 hours of sleep into every 24. It would’ve been better if I’d just made the recommended eight or nine happen the last eight years. Is that an option while nursing babies? I’ll never know. But I wish I’d spent a little less time doing chores late at night.

Published by robininalaska

Robin Chapman is a part-time writer, editor, and birth photographer and a full-time imperfect mama, wife, Jesus follower, and normalizer of failure. She’s trying hard to learn how to do this motherhood thing in a way that doesn’t land the whole family in intensive therapy. She has a heart for helping other mamas buried in the little years with hope, humor, and solidarity. You can find her hiding out in the bathroom with an iced dirty chai, writing and editing and making spreadsheets for where she is a cheerleader for mamas, or online looking for grace in her mundane and weird life. She lives in Fairbanks, Alaska with her four delightful (crazy) kids—some homeschooled, some public schooled, some too young for school at all—and her ridiculously good looking husband, Andrew.

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  1. Love this! Glad you’re getting the rest you needed and you took time for yourself a couple weeks ago.

    Interesting to note: One of my blog drafts is currently titled “Sleep is not the Enemy, Stop Fighting It”


    Sent from my iPhone



    1. I read The Adrenal Reset Diet by Alan Christiansen. It was good information, but it didn’t fix what was wrong. Eventually, I learned through labs that my adrenal output was actually normal (?!?) but my body was clearing it almost immediately so the cortisol available to my body was almost nil. Apparently that it’s an inflammation thing? Anyhow, I eliminated a bunch of triggering foods (here, if you’re curious) and am taking a bunch of supplements to minimize it and I feel *almost* normal! (The crash is now eight months ago.) I didn’t know about Adrenall, I wish I had!


      1. Thank you! Yes- when I was diagnosed 6 years ago, inflammation was a key player and a massive elimination diet reversed symptoms until a miscarriage almost 3 years ago wrecked my body. I think hormonal imbalance and extreme stress kicked off this episode of adrenal fatigue. Even though I had used adrenall previously, sadly I forgot about it until a few months ago (kicking myself that maybe I would have felt normal 2+ years ago, although i was still nursing a toddler which may not have been compatible with Adrenall. Who knows?). I’m glad you’ve gotten straightened out. Adrenal fatigue is a real thing and is super demoralizing when you are experiencing it and folks say it isn’t a real diagnosis.


      2. Whoops. Anyway. I did an arduous elimination diet. Basically no dairy (Nooooo!!!!), should have no cane sugar (though I’m not very diligent about tiny amounts in things), minimal eggs and wheat. It’s okay, and it’s brought a lot of garbage to the surface of my heart where I can deal with it. (Yay?)


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