I've been struggling this past week with some anxiety. Primarily at night, when I begin to slow and settle, and my thoughts can race.
Typically when this happens, I look over my self care plan and see what I've been neglecting, but all of my self care commitments have been on point, so that wasn't it.
Not sure if y'all are aware, but we are 7 months pregnant with baby #2. I say "we" because he got me into this, and I'm rather diligent about making sure he feels all the uncertainties and discomfort right alongside me each month.
Anyhow, the only thing I can think to blame for the influx of anxious thoughts and feelings is my damn hormones. They all relate to thoughts triggered by protecting baby #1, and are similar to those I had after she was first born. It's been months since I've felt this way and honestly it has knocked me off my course a bit.
My husband said maybe it's a way Mother Nature innately prepares a woman to protect her young. I can go with that. But I still need something to get me through those little anxious episodes, and blaming Mother Nature just ain't doing it.
Can I share with you some of the rather disturbing, crazy, spiraling thoughts that get my heart pounding and keep me up at night? Thanks.
For example, "mom of the year" over here left a small knife on the counter within arms reach of baby in her high chair the other day. Thankfully, she was preoccupied with eating her berries I had just cut up, but the realization that I had done something that careless threw my thoughts into a tail spin- like her stabbing her eye out and being rushed to the ER for example. (Eye patches are cool, but I'd rather avoid until she's a bit older).
Another reoccuring thought has been baby hurting herself on our staircase. The gate to the entrance has been acting up and I worry that she will climb up and fall, subsequently breaking her neck.
Lastly, my husband likes to play out back with our two dogs in the pool, and confidently says he can handle them and also watch and entertain baby #1. My imagination runs wild with all the possibilities, including (but not limited to): her falling into the pool, off the sea wall, getting trampled on by the dogs, eating a rock, cracking her head open on a brick paver, or even something as minor as getting a splinter from the dock in her foot.
These examples don't include the common fears of: not giving baby #1 enough attention when baby #2 arrives, worrying baby #2 lives off cheerios for his/her first year of life, or how I'll manage being a wife, mom, student, writer, friend and active member in recovery -all simultaneously.
So now that you have an idea of the level of insanity I have been challenged with this week, I'd like to share with you what I've done to relieve some of the anxiety and worry.
First off- I've accepted that yes, although some of this may be hormone driven, the majority of what I'm facing is CONTROL driven. Simply reminding myself often that I'm doing my best to manage the safety and security of my babies, and that the rest is out of my control, has helped a bit. Trusting my Higher Power and repeating the Serenity Prayer has also aided in shifting my focus.
Secondly- I've talked about it. To friends, to a therapist, to my husband. The support and tools provided have been truly unbelievable; mom friends relating and sharing their own fears and worries, giving tid bits of encouragements or insights. One friend in particular, (I'll call her Sarah, because that's her name) said as parents our job is to "prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child." WOW. And this whole time I was relying on bubble wrap. I've got to change my perspective. What a profound and simple foundation to focus my parenting energies on. Thank you friend.
And of course, writing to you all has helped. Because exposing those pieces inside that cause hurt, confusion and turmoil minimizes it's power over me. Keeping it inside only makes me feel more insane, more alone, more anxious. And sharing, well that's where the healing and connection happens, remember?
Finally, for the physical side, I sip magnesium citrate (called Calm) when I need to, and I've stayed on course with my workouts and yoga. My yoga instructor said in class the other day that "where our thoughts go, our energy flows." Yessssss. Namaste sister. Namaste.
So you see, there are outlets, reminders, and help everywhere I turn, if I stay open and willing to see and accept them.
I can't tell you I'm 100% anxiety free today. But I'm feeling a lot better. Allowing others in to help guide me has been crucial. Continuing my self care plan has been vital. And taking it one day at a time- heck, one MOMENT at a time, is sometimes all I can do to get through.
Thankful for a Higher Power that is in fact in control. Thankful for friends and spaces like this that give me the time and support I need to work through it all, without judgement or shame.
Continuing to give my best, even if it's my worst, because that's always better than not showing up at all.
One foot in front of the other. Inhale. Exhale.
We will survive on cheerios if we have to, and we will all be okay.