Expat mums: Do you suffer from EMS?

Expaters, do you suffer from bleeding gums, eczema flare ups, extreme fatigue, sleepless nights, dizzy spells, nausea and / or mild grumpiness? If so, chances are you’re suffering from EMS (Expat Mum Syndrome).

Symptoms usually manifest themselves at the beginning of a new expat adventure and worsen when the patient’s spouse is away and unable to share the childcare responsibilities.

I have suffered from EMS in varying degrees over the course of my children’s lives. Generally the symptoms are mild, but they have been worsening since my husband left to check out Chile. It seems the burden of organising visa documents, vaccinations and luggage alongside looking after two fabulously active preschoolers is taking its toll.

According to my unscientific research, the condition affects all expat mothers at some stage in their lives, and while serious, it is not as challenging as the chronic SM (single motherhood).

Temporary relief can be found in clothes shopping (best repeated daily) or medication including chocolate, tea and red wine (use liberally). Many sufferers also find group therapy beneficial, with recent studies suggesting a combined therapy of girly nights out with cake can dramatically alleviate symptoms. A reliable full time nanny has also shown to be highly beneficial. If symptoms persist, a luxury spa break may be prescribed.

Thankfully, EMS is a temporary condition which generally disappears shortly after settling into the new host country. After a bout of EMS, sufferers often report feelings of increased strength and personal satisfaction. After repeated exposure, many can build up a tolerance to the condition.

Until then, for me it’s chin chin with the vino and click click on Netaporter. Doctors orders, after all.

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