I’ve always had my issues with anxiety. I love the Zen life, and on the surface I may appear chill. Admittedly, I have come far. Well, I had…until I became a parent.
It’s humorous, really. Those ten months of incubating a precious miracle I may have raised my voice once. It was important to me to meditate every day, do yoga, talk softly, and put negative thoughts out of my head. It was quite brilliant, really, the state I was in throughout pregnancy. And then the baby arrived.
Within the first few hours we had a crash course in parenting. No one told us that babies could choke on their amniotic fluid. I thought after 30 hours of labor that stuff was long gone. But no. We put our precious little one in the cosleeper and saw him choking, turning nearly blue, and we had heart attacks. He was OK, and this sometimes happens, but a heads up would have been nice. J slept on my chest for the first month of his life because of that.
Now I’m not going to share all the things that can go wrong, because if you’re a parent, you may have already had them. I sit in the few quite moments yearning for peace and relaxation, instead thinking “is he still breathing?!”.
He’s nearly two and it’s still happening.
Before checkups I think, “Christ, I hope he doesn’t contract Ebola!” knowing good and well that it won’t happen, reciting over and over in my head, “most of the things you worry about never happen.” And thank my sweet bippy they don’t, and that we don’t know the things that are going to go wrong before they do.
I wonder, “Is every other parent freaking out, too!? Is it because this is my first? Is it my anxiety”? And it’s probably a little bit of everything. And while me planning ways to avoid my child drowning in the neighbor’s pool in the middle of Winter may seem nuts, I know there are other parents out there freaking out just like me. Losing their minds because the kid ate edamame off the floor at the public library, ready for the first signs of SARS. Le sigh.
You are not alone, anxious one!
There are a couple of things that have helped me that I thought I might share:
- Dilute that coffee, yo!
Cut your scoop of coffee in half. Make it an au lait. Drink half a cup. We all need that sweet nectar of life to keep us going, but just dilute it. I half my scoop of grounds and drink half the cup in the morning and half after lunch (sweet pick me up!). Added bonus, you won’t sweat as much. You’re welcome.
Just do it. We are so ridiculous sometimes. No, there is no way your 3 month-old is going to jump out of your arms, waltz to the nearest body of water, and jump in. And when they are able (before they are able), make sure you take precautions. Keep your eyes on your kid when there are threats around. Simples.
- “Most of the things we worry about never happen”
It’s true. I have thought up some pretty crazy garbage in my head. Guess what, I can’t think of one that has happened. I even think of the times I was in compromised positions and it all worked out. Just keep your head on a swivel and WATCH. YOUR. KID. You’ll be fine.
- Talk to someone.
I see a therapist and I don’t hide it. During transitions and difficult times on a bi-weekly basis, but in general every few months. It’s nice to have someone to talk to, especially when you’re a stay-at-home mom. You have a dialogue that no one hears (mine is a dialogue and not a monologue…normal?!?!) and it is important to talk to someone. Some things your partner hears enough, and you need someone to validate your feelings and help you sort through everything. Stigmas are so last century, and keep in mind you don’t have to have a mental illness to talk to someone.
And when you’re getting down on yourself for being an absolute basket case (Did I just cry through “Let It Go”!?), remember that you are normal, and more importantly, not alone. We all do inexplicable things that make no sense two days from now. Hell, an hour from now. Just don’t check my Google search history.