Powering Through with Anxiety

             As a mother of a seven-month-old, motherhood has been such a beautiful and inspiring experience! Despite being sleep deprived, my exhaustion fades away when my son smiles and coos. I often catch myself doing silly expressions or dance moves just so I can get him to smile and laugh. At the same time, I can attest to the challenges that come with being a mother, parent, wife, counselor, and individual. I cannot remember a time where I have had to process so many transitions at once. I found myself feeling anxious and easily overwhelmed since there are so many floating pieces to grasp at. I never had panic attacks before; yet, after giving birth, I have had two panic attacks so far.

As such, I am able to deeply empathize with parents who are in the same boat. Parents who feel as though the weight of the family is upon them, where they are faced with mountains of laundry waiting to be done, or dishes in the sink that have yet to be washed. It seems like there is a never-ending number of things that needs to be accomplished, and having a child that constantly needs your undivided attention adds to the list of responsibilities you already have.

            On that note, this article is written with the intention of acknowledging all parents out there who are struggling with anxiety as well as suggest ways to cope with anxiety. My heart goes out to you, parents, for the unrelenting love, patience, and attentiveness you show your child(ren). If you are having a rough day and you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with anxiety and helplessness, take some time to pause, ground yourself, and try this activity with me.

Acknowledging Your Anxiety

            It is completely normal and understandable for us to be overly concerned about the well-being of our children. It shows we care and that we do not want anything bad to happen to them. However, our concerns should not crowd our mind to the extent our peace of mind is affected. If you find that the anxious voice in your head is starting to get too loud, acknowledge it, visualize a knob, and turn the knob down to decrease the volume and intensity.

            I personally name my anxiety, Angie. Angie the anxious person. When I catch myself getting anxious, I speak directly to Angie and say, “Angie, I know you are trying to protect me. I know you feel worried about what is going to happen. I’ve got this. It’s okay.” When I address my anxiety directly instead of trying to push it away, I find that I feel less tensed and worried. Remember, anxiety is about the need for control. However, you do have control. You only need to look within you. The more you try to fight anxiety, the worse it is going to get because you can never get rid of anxiety completely. .

You are Enough

           Most importantly, my encouragement to you is to celebrate your experience and journey. You have brought a child(ren) into this world and that in itself is an amazing feat! You are bigger than your concerns, worries, and anxieties. You are so much more than the things you do or the things you say to your child(ren). You are simply you without all the fancy gadgets and baby toys, and that alone is more than enough.

           I hope this article give you a sense of peace and normalizes your experience. You are not alone in this journey. If you would like more support in processing and working through your anxiety or role as a parent, feel free to reach out to me for counseling services at amanda@empoweredandauthenticliving.com. You can also call me at 224-800-1139.

Amanda has had domestic abuse training for a year and is a certified Domestic Violence Professional in Illinois. Learn more about her here.