What a Pain in the Mummy Wrist
Updated: Apr 18, 2021
After having my baby I had many hurdles to overcome. I was dealing with the physical and mental effects of a traumatic birth, and pregnancy itself had given me issues affecting my mobility. I will discuss all of this further in future, but for now the important thing to know is that my arms were one of the few things functioning well.
Enter; Mummy Wrist!
This is the overly cutie name for wrist pain experienced by new Mums. In my case, it started with terrible pain in both wrists, then was affecting my thumb, first and middle finger, and shortly afterwards I had pain going from my elbow to my ring and pinky finger. This pain was attributable to looking after a new baby and all of the strain it put on my arms and wrists. I also felt a weakness and tingling feeling in my fingers. At the time it was an absolute nightmare.
I luckily mentioned this to a midwife on one of my home visits. She instantly said "I had the same trouble and I'll warn you now it took about 4 months to get sorted". She told me that she would organise for me to get hand therapy, as this really helped her.
Hand therapy was an appointment with an occupational therapist. She explained that I was having symptoms from both carpal tunnel syndrome and cubital tunnel syndrome. Now being naughty, I had googled my symptoms when they started. I knew the pain in my elbow/last two fingers didn't fit the bill for carpel tunnel syndrome and had actually thought the fact that the worst pain was here was a good thing. In fact, the therapist warned me that cubital tunnel syndrome was more likely to leave lasting damage in your hands function. This is why we should not Google things! Classic case of half a story and a wrong conclusion.
I was given exercises and wrist splints. The therapist told me they usually advise you to wear the splints at night, so as to get a long stretch of time. I let out a very un-ladylike snort of laughter at this. Fortunately, the therapist was a Mum herself and said "Don't worry, I know that you will not have a night and day right now with a new-born, so wear them whenever you can including the day".
Following this appointment, I continue to struggle with certain tasks using my hands. For example, to write my blogs I talk into my phone and let Google keyboard convert my words into written text, then go back and edit it because sometimes my accent really throws it off!
Anyway, a brother bing by juggle with... (sorry, couldn't resist).
Another thing I struggle with is popper fastenings on baby grows. I could happily write an entire blog post about this, and think I will in future. Wrist pain aside, doing the poppers on baby grows is like giving women with sleep deprivation a Sudoku. They're fiddly, you need a degree to line them up and, most importantly, they're an absolute nightmare if your hands aren't working properly. It was pain at every nappy change.
I bought three baby grows with zips on before baby was born and actually thought this might be uncomfortable for baby. How wrong I was! My top advice to any pregnant woman is to buy baby grows with zips!
I have also struggled with the baby bottles. We have Tommee Tippee baby bottles and unscrewing the tops is a nightmare! Again, more for another blog post, but there seems to be a lack of accessibility or adaptation of products for new mums with disability.
My wrists did initially improve following the exercises given at hand therapy, however, this has since regressed again with pins and needles in my fingers getting worse and I am back on the waiting list for hand therapy. I still find things I struggle with, particularly dropping things all the time, and have days where the pain has come back again. I always find voice notes to be much easier than texting, or again talking into my phone to write out messages.
But to summarise, if you're struggling; get hand therapy, do the exercises, wear the wrist splints, and most importantly, buy baby grows with zips!