Maternal burn-out is burn-out. Like professional burnout, it corresponds with a chain of characteristics and symptoms that plunges the mother or father into a state of distress.
The characteristics of maternal burnout and occupational burnout are relatively similar. They come from overload, from chronic stress that drains a person’s reserves. The process is therefore identical.
Remember, however, that we are not all equal when it comes to stress and that two people can experience the same situation in very different ways.
For some, the constant strain experienced in family life will already be too much of a burden. For others, it will be the accumulation of family life combined with a demanding work environment and the importance given to a successful social life that will rock them.
A body that protects us …
As a reminder, when the body / brain pair perceives a threat, a danger in the broad sense, it triggers a stress process the objective of which is to allow the individual to react by preparing him for flight or fight. It is then acute stress. But the permanence of this state generates a modification. Stress becomes chronic and leads to burnout.
What are the signs?
The seemingly harmless signs of stress…
- impression of being overwhelmed
- an impression of being tired all the time
- lack of patience…
Which get stronger over time…
Then over the months, the feeling of being more and more overwhelmed, a feeling of emptiness which is often characterized by detachment from the child, fewer hugs and kisses or less and less desire to share moments with him. Gradually, the parent slips from overwork to burnout without realizing it.
This is when negative and shameful thoughts can invade the parent even about his or her child or children.
We must not lose sight of the fact that, in the case of maternal or occupational burnout, the person is no longer themselves. The parent can flare up, lose it, or blank out if the body lets go. The symptoms are therefore not to be taken lightly or to be relegated to the rank of minor fatigue or nervousness that will pass.
Pushed to its limits, a maternal or paternal burnout can lead in certain cases to risky situations. It can generate aggressive gestures towards the child or children or give rise to complete indifference to the suffering and needs of the child.