I started to notice signs that something wasn’t quite right with myself around May/June 2016. At first I just put it down to having a 13 month old who was just learning to walk and liked getting up to mischief. I mean what parent isn’t completely exhausted 24/7?
I noticed I was feeling extremely exhausted and that I had zero energy to do anything but I knew it was affecting me more than if it was just because I was a mother. I would find when I heard Ivy waking up that I was having to physically make myself get out of bed even if I had had a full nights sleep. Whereas usually I’m not too bad in the mornings. But I was also having to physically make myself make Ivy some breakfast and I would even skip mine because I just felt like I didn’t have the energy to do it at all. I wanted to get breakfast out of the way so that I could sit down on the couch as soon as possible.
I didn’t want to interact with my daughter at all because I just felt like I physically couldn’t do it. We stopped going for walks every morning with the dog because that was just out of the question. And don’t even get me started on house work or getting dressed to go out shopping. The anxiety about getting out of the house was enormous! I started to feel like I was failing at being a mother. That I was some horrible kind of person for not wanting to play with their child and take them out to places. Ivy’s first birthday was coming up in July and I just couldn’t bare the thought that I was going to feel this way forever.
All of this piled up on top of me and was making me extremely depressed. Which is when I knew something definitely wasn’t right. I had never been depressed in my life. Sad or upset yes, but never to the point where I would consider myself depressed. I didn’t even have the energy to have a proper conversation with my partner.
My mum and Stuart urged me to go to the doctors because they knew that something wasn’t right with me. They said it could be my thyroid and that I should at least get it checked out. I booked an appointment, went along and they took my blood. I had my results within a week and was told to go back in to see the doctor. So straight away I knew something was up. He sat me down and explained that my blood levels were showing that I was deficient in B12.
He explained that being low in Vitamin B12 means that the body produces abnormally large red blood cells that can’t do their job properly. So they can’t pump oxygen around the body fast enough. The symptoms include;
- extreme tiredness
- a lack of energy
- muscle weakness
- disturbed vision
- memory loss
So basically you’re f*cked! Especially if you’re a parent.
He told me that it meant I would need to have injections for the rest of my life. I was both pleased that I finally had an answer and that my brain had been wrong about me being a bad mother. There was a reason I was feeling this way and there was also a cure. But on the other hand; injections? For the rest of my life? That didn’t sound too pleasant.
I proceeded to have 6 “starter” injections in 2 weeks! My arms began to feel like dead weights. But then the nurse told me that after that I only had to come back every three months, which wasn’t so bad. Between the 3rd and 6th injection I asked when I would start to feel some affect from the injections because so far I still wasn’t feeling anything. They told me that it would still take a while for them to get into my system but that around week 3 I should definitely start to feel an improvement.
And I did! I was finally beginning to feel human again. I could get up in the mornings and I looked forward to mine and Ivy’s mornings together. I felt like me again. I still felt tired but I knew now that was because I was looking after my daughter all day. My mood instantly lifted.
Every time it’s getting to the end of the three months I can feel the injections wearing off and my symptoms creeping back in but now I know it will never be as bad as those first few months at the beginning before I knew what it was. Now I just get to feel like every other regular tired, exhausted mama and I’m glad (sort of)!
See NHS: Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia for more information and how to deal with it.