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In survival mode: mothers and fathers' experiences of fatigue in the early parenting period
journal contributionposted on 2022-10-27, 23:12 authored by Rebecca GialloRebecca Giallo, N Rose, A Cooklin, D McCormack
Objective: This study aimed to describe mothers' and fathers' experiences of fatigue in the early parenting period and the strategies they use to manage it. Background: Fatigue is a common health concern for parents of young children; however, little is also known about how they attempt to manage fatigue, and what does and does not work for them. Even less is known about fathers' experiences of fatigue and its impact on daily life. Methods: Thirteen mothers and six fathers of children aged 0-6 years participated in semi-structured focus group interviews. Results: Parents described unrelenting physical and cognitive symptoms of fatigue, and its impact on daily functioning, well-being, and parenting. Sleep deprivation was seen to contribute to fatigue for both mothers and fathers, however, mothers also emphasised that daily demands and limited opportunities for a break contributed to their fatigue. Parents identified taking time out for self, exercise and social support as a way of managing fatigue, while fathers saw work as a source of respite and having realistic expectations as being important. Conclusion: Implications for future research and the development of information resources for mothers and fathers are discussed, along with clinical insights for health professionals working with parents of young children. © 2013 Copyright Society for Reproductive and Infant Psychology.