Nothing can truly prepare you for parenthood. I read books and blogs. I spoke with many woman about pregnancy, delivery, and all their experiences. However, I was still unprepared to be a mother.
The biggest thing that I was unprepared for was how having a baby would affect my anxiety. People often talk about how pregnancy and delivery affects you physically, but no one ever talks about how it affects you emotionally.
I am naturally an anxious person and have been suffering from anxiety for years. I am most anxious about crowds, flying, and small spaces. Since becoming a mother, I am now anxious about high fevers, skin rashes, choking, drowning, and sleeping.
My anxiety is always high when my son is eating. People often comment how tiny I cut his food. It should not matter how I cut it, but I always find myself replying “he’s a gulper, not a chewer.” This is in fact true, so choking is a huge concern in our house.
My anxiety is also high when he is sick. My mind races to a million different places. What could be causing his cough, high fever, or skin rash? We literally rushed him to the Emergency Room one morning after finding a rash that spread to his chest. After many different diagnosis, hours, and doctors we found out it was Eczema.
I could sit here and list a thousand reasons about what makes me feel anxious when it comes to him, but lets just say I am a frequent caller to the on call pediatrician.
Living with anxiety as a parent is always coming up with the worst case scenarios, preparing for them, only to come back to reality and realizing everything will be okay. My role as his mother is to be the protector. To never let anything bad happen to him or to us.
I never know when my anxiety will strike. Any little moment good or bad can set it off. It’s a rush of emotions that hit you all at once and you cannot control it. Your mind races. Your heart rate increases. Your breathing gets more intense. In those moments, I squeeze my son a little extra longer. I breathe him in. I give him extra kisses and I love yous.
If you are a parent living with an anxiety, it is important to know that there are many outlets to help you. Whether it be a break, deep breathes, medication or therapy, there is always someone or something there to help.
Being a parent with an anxiety disorder is hard, but I will not let my anxiety define me as a person or as a mother. This was a hard topic for me to write about because it is so difficult for me to talk about. However, my platform is to inspire women who may be facing the same struggles as I am.
Somedays you just have to remind yourself, take it one day at a time because you got this.