Our Keepsake Journal is Here! 🎉

It is not entirely clear whether or not we should consider this postpartum anxiety, but it is certainly something we need to keep an eye on.

As dusk was casting its shade over the passing day, I sat at a red light on my way home from work considering the conversation I just had with my therapist over the phone. I had attempted to describe some of the feelings I was experiencing.

Anxiety was an old friend of mine, a friend that I had closed the door to for some time now. But, as I drove from work back home to my babies, I was curious:

Do I have postpartum anxiety or is this just my regular old anxiety coming back to visit now that I have children? And does it matter what I call it?

What my therapist said to me after these questions came up is an important message I feel so many new mothers need to hear.

She told me that whether or not we gave my “symptoms” a label or a diagnosis, the most important thing to remember was that there is no need to suffer either way, and that she wanted me to tell her more about what I was feeling. 

That was what she said. What I heard was you don’t have to feel like this, and I am holding a safe space for you to talk about it more.

In the weeks that followed, I worked hard to notice and be aware of when my mind and body would crawl back into that chaotic place where calmness and clarity was nowhere to be found so I could explore it in my safe space.

I found that it was somewhat ever-present, yet somehow still sneaked up on me in unexpected ways.

I felt it when I thought I may need a moment alone, but also deeply hated every second away from my kids.

I felt it when I wanted to talk, but also could not find the strength to whisper a single sound out loud.

I felt it when I wanted to clean, but would walk ferociously frazzled in and out of each room of my house entirely overwhelmed by not knowing where or how to start.

I felt it when I wanted to have an adult conversation and the phone would ring, but I would walk in circles trying to anticipate how the conversation might go and miss the call anyway.

I felt it when I’d see other moms taking a walk together with their kids and a shadow of jealousy would walk next to me, but I couldn’t muster the means to call or text my own friends and ask them to join me.

I felt it when I would try to get myself and my children ready to go somewhere, but would end up sitting on the floor staring into space envisioning everything I needed to do as they danced around me.

I felt it when I’d go for a manicure, watch a funny television show, or read a book and try to enjoy them, but instead would scroll through social media and sabotage my chance for a mental vacation.

I felt it when I would try to put on an outfit and feel somewhat good in my clothes, but change no less than eight times before I ended up in my regular comfortable, not-very-nice, go-to yoga pants and sink in shame. 

I felt it when I would try to make plans to visit with family or friends ahead of time, but would worry about unexpected on-goings that might make me uncomfortable and then try to avoid it.

I felt it when I would try to meal plan, shop, and prep to save time later in the week, but would undoubtedly realize I’d forgotten a single item and fester in foul depletion.

I felt it when I would try to sit and be present around others, but the thoughts of all the other things I could be doing would consume me and then unbearable restlessness would overtake my bones.

I felt it when it seemed like I was rambling aloud faster than anyone listening could surely make sense of, only to realize that I was not speaking at all and it was all just in my head.

I felt it when it seemed like someone was holding my throat, only to realize that it was my own fears tightening their grip on my desires.

I felt it when it seemed like something was squashing my chest, only to realize that it was my own ego pressuring me to stand still, paralyzed in time.

I felt it when it seemed like there was a drum beating in my head, only to realize that it was my own soul shaking me until I finally acquiesced to rest.

I felt it on and off, it came in and out, I was up and down. 

But, I got help. And I practiced awareness.

My safe space and my awareness led me to see, to notice, to be, to breathe, to release, to change, to forgive, to let go, to accept, to heal . . . and it led me to feel calm, safe, and clear.

It led me to gratitude and growth.

So now these days I feel a little less like a mountain’s peaks and valleys and a lot more like a wave’s beautiful white edges on the shore that never quite stays in either ebb or flow for too long, always finding that strong, centered space over the sand, the gravitational pull that holds all the scattered droplets in unity. 

And it is a much more pleasant place to be.

Mama, meet me in the sea. Will you, my friend?

You may also like:

I’m Not a Lazy Mom—I Have Anxiety

A New Mom Can Feel Blessed and Thankful and Still Battle Postpartum Anxiety

To the New Mom Hiding Her Anxiety: You Don’t Have to Circle “A”

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Check out our new Keepsake Companion Journal that pairs with our So God Made a Mother book!

Order Now
So God Made a Mother's Story Keepsake Journal

Amanda Motisi

Amanda Motisi is a mother of two, a teacher, and a certified holistic health coach. She writes about motherhood, parenting, education and overall health and wellness in an effort connect, inspire, educate and empower women from all over the world. She'd love for you to join her in her journey by following her on Instagram and Facebook, or you can visit her website here.

This is the Bittersweet Goodbye to the Baby Years

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Little girl pushing toddler brother in baby swing, color photo

Last August, I had my last baby. Oof. Even typing those words makes my heart ache. There’s something so final, so sad, so unreal about acknowledging the end of having babies. Maybe it’s because I’m the type of person who likes to keep all the doors open. I love possibilities. I hate goodbyes. And this, my friends, feels like a very hard goodbye. When I think about being done having kids, it feels like a goodbye to the baby years. For six years now, all I’ve known is the baby years. And while the baby years can drain me and...

Keep Reading

Sometimes God Sends a Double Rainbow

In: Baby, Loss, Motherhood
Two sacs as seen in early pregnancy sonogram

I lay on the ultrasound table prepared to hear the worst. While this pregnancy wasn’t totally expected, it was a miracle for me. I knew with the current stress in my life and the symptoms of a miscarriage, I may have to face another heartbreak to my series of heartbreaks over the last two years. I questioned what I did wrong to deserve it all. I prayed I had been stronger in my prior life: to have made better decisions. So I lay there, I held my breath, and I waited as the tech put the cold jelly over my...

Keep Reading

When Your Baby becomes a Big Boy

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Toddler boy smiling with hoodie on

My son recently learned how to climb out of things, so I asked my husband to take the side off the crib to convert it to a toddler bed today. I snapped one last picture of my son in his crib before I hurried off to get him dressed for school. As I got to work, I saw my husband had sent me a text of the transformed crib, and it just about killed me. I know, I know . . . what even changed? It pretty much looks the same. But it’s more than just the side of the...

Keep Reading

I Know This Baby Is Our Last and It’s Bittersweet

In: Baby, Motherhood, Toddler
Woman snuggling baby by window

Three is our magic number. It always has been. It feels like the perfect number of kids for us. Everyone who belongs around my dinner table is here. Our family is complete. And yet even though my family is complete, I still find myself grieving that this is our last baby just a little bit as I pack up the teeny, tiny newborn onesies and socks. I’ve folded up swaddle blankets that saw us through the all-nighters of the newborn phase, ready to be passed along to a new baby in someone else’s family. But they won’t be swaddled around...

Keep Reading

I Wasn’t Sure You’d Be Here To Hold

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on her chest in hospital bed

I stood naked in my parents’ bathroom. Even with the tub filling, I could hear my family chattering behind the door. I longed to be with them, not hiding alone with my seven-month round belly, sleep-deprived, and covered in pox-like marks. For three weeks, I’d tried Benadryl, lotions, and other suggested remedies to cure the strange rash spreading over my body. No luck. By Christmas Day, my life had been reduced to survival. Day and night, I tried to resist itching, but gave in, especially in my sleep. At 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., the feeling of fire ants...

Keep Reading

No One Warned Me About the Last Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby, black-and-white photo

No one warned me about the last baby. When I had my first, my second, and my third, those first years were blurry from sleep deprivation and chaos from juggling multiple itty-bitties. But the last baby? There’s a desperation in that newborn fog to soak it up because there won’t be another. No one warned me about the last baby. Selling the baby swing and donating old toys because we wouldn’t need them crushed me. I cried selling our double jogger and thought my heart would split in two when I dropped off newborn clothes. Throwing out pacifiers and bottles...

Keep Reading

My Second, It Only Took a Second To Fall In Love With You

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother with newborn baby on chest, black and white image

You were the second. The second child who, as a mother, I wondered if I could love as much and as fiercely as my first. It’s true, I’m ashamed to admit. As much as you were so desperately prayed for, I was scared. So, so scared. I was scared I was going to fail you. You were the second. And already so loved. But, you see, your brother was my whole entire world. My everything. He made me a mother and gave me all the firsts. My lap was only so big. My heart was only so big. There was...

Keep Reading

Dear Helmet Mama, It’s Not Your Fault

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mom holding baby with helmet, color photo

I’m a helmet mama. It’s something I never thought I’d say, but there it is. And I’m not going to be ashamed of it. Of course, at first, when the doctor referred us to see a specialist for “flat head,” I thought, “Oh, please no. Not my baby.” I’ve seen those babies, and I’ve always felt bad for them and wondered how their heads got that bad. And I’ll be honest, I’d usually pass judgment on the mother of that baby. So how did I end up with my own baby having a helmet on his head? It’s called torticollis—and...

Keep Reading

Thank You to the Nurses Who Cared for My Baby First

In: Baby, Motherhood
Infant in hospital isolette, color photo

I wish I knew who she (or he) was and what she looked like. Was she young or older, experienced or just starting out? How had her weekend been? Was she starting or ending a work shift at 2:30 a.m. that Monday morning when they ran me into the surgery room? The first few days after my son was born, he was kept in intermediate care as we recovered from an emergency C-section that saved both our lives—his by just a few minutes. I occasionally managed to shuffle over to see him, but was pretty weak myself, so the nurses...

Keep Reading

Hey Mama, This Is Your Labor & Delivery Nurse Speaking

In: Baby, Motherhood
Mother holding newborn baby looking up at labor and delivery nurse and smiling

First of all, mama, I want to congratulate you! Whether this is your first baby or not, I am honored to be here with you through this experience. Before you ask me, no, I do not care if you shaved your you know what. There are plenty of other things I’m thinking of, and that is not one of them. I’m so happy to be here for the birth of you and your baby, but most importantly, I’m happy to be here for YOU. It doesn’t matter to me if you want to breastfeed, it doesn’t matter if you want...

Keep Reading