Why Joanna Gaines Might Be Having a Harder Time With Baby No. 5

Joanna Gaines says that she doesn’t regret the timing of baby number five. And she believes that her unexpected pregnancy with baby Crew was a gift. You might think that being a celebrity would make life easier. And in some ways it probably does. But Joanna Gaines still has to deal with the realities of having a new baby at age 40. And sources close to the Fixer Upper star say that she’s struggling a bit.

Read on to find out why Joanna might be having a hard time with baby Crew, and to discover why what she’s going through is perfectly normal for women across America.

Joanna Gaines reportedly feels ‘exhausted,’ and that’s normal

Closer reports that according to a source close to Chip and Joanna Gaines, Joanna “has barely had any time for herself” since welcoming baby Crew into the Gaines family. The source characterizes the transition as “a shock to the system.” The source also added, “There’s an eight-year difference between Crew and Emmie Kay, and Joanna certainly has noticed the difference between having a baby in her 40s and being in her 20s or early 30s. She’s exhausted!”

But what new mother doesn’t feel exhausted when she has a newborn at home? According to Parents, one study found that sleep interruptions caused by an infant can cause real physical side effects for the parents. And according to PBS, researchers have shown that new moms still feel “shell-shocked, sleep-deprived, and zombie-like” even months after a baby arrives and begins to sleep more regularly. Plenty of new mothers wonder whether exhaustion is their new normal. No wonder The Cut reports that just as people burn out at work, people can burn out on parenting.

In other words: We don’t doubt that Joanna Gaines feels exhausted. Any new mom can tell you that. And we don’t need an inside source to tell us how tired the Fixer Upper stars have felt since bringing baby Crew into the world.

The Fixer Upper stars were used to working around the clock

Between filming Fixer Upper and running all their other businesses, Chip and Joanna Gaines have gotten used to working around the clock. They finally threw in the towel on their hit HGTV show. And they wanted to spend more time with their family when they stepped away from Fixer Upper. But that doesn’t make adjusting to life with a newborn any easier.

Closer learned from its source that Chip and Joanna “just didn’t realize how different their lives would become with a newborn thrown in the mix.” That transition can feel overwhelming even if you don’t have other children to care for at the same time. After all, sleep-deprived new parents routinely take to the internet to ask if newborns need to be watched 24/7, or to inquire whether it’s alright for both parents to sleep at the same time. Working around the clock and caring for a tiny baby around the clock are two different things.

Joanna writes that ‘It takes a village,’ and it really does

Joanna Gaines has, on occasion, admitted that parenting can get stressful. She once wrote on her blog, “Motherhood can be difficult. It’s not an instant gratification thing all the time. When your kiddos are just babies, and you’re changing diapers or listening to whining constantly, it can feel overwhelming.” She’s probably feeling a bit overwhelmed right about now.

While Closer learned that Chip is “always willing to help out” with Crew and the other kids, Joanna implied in the fall issue of The Magnolia Journal that the two of them couldn’t do it all on their own. “Since Crew’s birth, I have a new understanding of the reality of the phrase, ‘It takes a village.’ I feel like I’m a first-time mom all over again.”

Of course, Chip and Joanna are lucky to have that village to support them as they raise Crew and their older kids. Quartz reports that according to researchers, one of the major challenges for forty-something parents is that “common sources of support for older parents like family, friends, neighbors, and community,” only exist “minimally, if at all.”

Having a baby at 40 really is different

CBN News reports that in the latest issue of Magnolia Journal, Joanna Gaines wrote that having a baby at age 40 was “a gift.” But she also wrote that going through a pregnancy at age 40 threw her for a loop. “I am 40, and pregnancy this time was different,” she wrote. “I have always really enjoyed being pregnant — I tend to feel my best during those nine months. This time I felt a little more worn out than usual.” And it’s not just Joanna who’s noticed those differences.

Parents reports that there are more risks for both mother and baby when a woman gets pregnant at age 40 or later. The Morris Psychological Group reports that while age alone isn’t a factor in a woman’s likelihood of experiencing postpartum depression, other factors prevalent among older women may make them more susceptible. Vox notes that older women can have a harder time recovering from pregnancy and childbirth than younger women. After all, as one obstetrician-gynecologist explains, the day that women give birth “is the most dangerous day in their lives.”
If Joanna is the one getting up at night to feed the baby — as Closer reports that she is — that sleep deprivation also probably feels different than it did when she was younger. Plus, Popular Science reports that researchers have found that as we get older, our bodies become less able to get enough sleep, even without a baby around. And Chip and Joanna may be starting to feel those effects. (Especially when they’re waking up with a newborn.)

Read more: Joanna Gaines’ Biggest Design Mistake and Other Surprising Things You Didn’t Know About Her

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