Becoming a mom was the best day of my life. While motherhood has so many joys and blessings that come along with the responsibility, it also bears struggles for many. My personal struggles were what I call “mom anxiety” and postpartum anxiety and depression.
We all know someone who has anxiety. Many of us struggle with it ourselves. For as long as I can remember I have struggled with anxiety.
Most of the time I say my anxiety started around the time I became an adult. However, I feel like it’s been around my life since childhood. It’s not something that goes away.
Anxiety lingers around you, and can affect people in such an intense and overwhelming way. Anxiety is classified as a condition of persistent and uncontrollable nervousness, stress, and worry that is triggered by anticipation of future events, memories of past events, or ruminating over day-to-day events, both trivial and major, with disproportionate fears of catastrophic consequences.
There were many times I felt joy after having my daughter. But just a couple weeks after her birth, I started to feel anxious about literally everything. I will never forget a specific moment that felt so scary and grounding to me.
I have never shared this with anyone, but I feel like my experience may in turn help someone else struggling through the same things that I struggled with.
My daughter was just about 2 months old and I went to the mall with my mom and my daughter. A quaint and simple girls day out, and also one of my first outings with my daughter. I remember wanting to go look at something at a store and my mom said,”you go and I’ll stay here and watch the baby.”
Well, I had left my phone in the stroller with my mom. I was gone for maybe 10 minutes tops and I returned to the spot my mom was at and she was not there. So I looked around and couldn’t see her or the stroller anywhere.
Anxiety immediately hit me. This terrible feeling of something wrong sank in. The thought that began to fill my head were thoughts I couldn’t explain.
I went from thinking she was probably just inside a store to thinking someone had kidnapped my mom and my baby. Crazy? I know.
That thought process went from 0-10 real quick. Well less than a minute later my mom comes around the corner and I basically dropped to my knees crying and yelling “where were you?” She had just gone to walk my daughter around in circles in the stroller.
She was never far at all. I’m emotional just sharing this. I often think back to that moment and the look I must have had on my face. Surely, my mom thought oh my gosh I was just over there.
She did nothing wrong. It was my postpartum anxiety. It’s a moment that really hit me hard.
At the time I didn’t think anything of it other than being embarrassed for over-reacting. I will admit that there were many other times I over-reacted when it came to motherhood. However I finally came to the realization that it was all part of my anxiety.
My panic attacks were all part of anxiety. My fast heartbeat, my clammy hands, my dizziness, were all part of anxiety. The physical ailments that a person goes through from anxiety are really terrifying at times.
As my daughter got older, I started to see a therapist and do some more reading, and well, my mom anxiety got much better. I still have it but not nearly as bad as I did when my daughter was first born. I want to give you tips to help with your mom anxiety; how to control it, and how to overcome it.
How I Finally Got Over My Mom Anxiety: My Experience With Postpartum Anxiety
Lots of help!
There is no other way to say this, other than you need to find help for yourself. Find help in any way possible that works for you. There is always help available for this.
Many insurances/hospitals offer free mom groups/classes for this. There are also so many podcasts and books out there to learn from other mother’s experiences and how they overcame it. I think the best help I received was therapy, podcasts, and talking to family.
Reach out to someone; another mom will either understand or will have gone through the same thing. If you don’t have anyone, search podcasts, free group sessions, etc.
Knowing a mom that can also take turns with babysitting so each of you can get a day to yourself, is a great idea to implement. There are a multitude of resources to help you figure out your anxiety and to help you cope with it.
Figure out how to get through it rather than getting over it.
I’m here to tell you that mom anxiety will not go away overnight. With that said, you are going to have go through the hard step of navigating through it. This means you are going to have to find a way to not let it take over your life.
Mom anxiety will sometimes happen even when you don’t notice it. Suddenly you’re doing dishes and then a moment later you’re yelling at your kids. But once you start to get help, a therapist can then show you how to identify it and what to do in the moment.
Once you are able to identify your anxiety you will be able to control it better. When I first started having panic attacks, I literally thought I was having a heart attack or that something was seriously wrong with me.
I can’t tell you how many urgent care trips it took for me to finally figure out it was just anxiety. Which leads me to my next tip.
Know the triggers and how to handle the symptoms.
Knowing what triggers your anxiety, is a good start! Try to avoid things or people that may trigger your anxiety. Now, we obviously can’t avoid our little humans, but we can decide what we are going to let affect us.
When you are having an anxiety attack it’s really important to remain as calm as possible. When I get my anxiety/panic attacks, I know what to expect now. I still get a little scared when I feel like I can’t breathe.
However I have a focal point that I use to help me. And I practice breathing exercises that help me to calm down. Things like focal points, breathing exercises, or doing something that relaxes you, can all help you with your symptoms of a panic/anxiety attack.
Remember that you are above your anxiety.
Don’t let your anxiety control you! You should be the one to take control over it and get your life back. My anxiety was taking over my life and really affecting how I parented my daughter.
Simply because I was letting it by not doing anything about it. Once I started to take control over it, my life changed dramatically, in the best way possible.
Many people think that they have to live with it. But there are so many ways to help you cope with it and to help you get over the worst part of it.
Once you learn how to deal with anxiety, your life becomes so much better. Being a mom comes with a lot of anxiety. You worry about the well being of your kids, while also worrying about everything else life throws at you.
You don’t have to let anxiety consume you. Instead, take control of it. You will be a much healthier person and a better mom for your kids.
Your kids deserve a mom that can handle situations with more calm. You deserve to be calmer and to know how to handle tough parental situations. We can do this!
How do you handle your anxiety when it comes to motherhood?