Anixety and Motherhood

Frustrated woman on computer
Creative Commons License photo credit: Jerry Bunkers

I’ve always been the kind to worry about things. Sometimes it’s unnecessary and other times it’s a normal concern. I worry about our finances. I worry about plans for the upcoming week. I worry about dinner. I worry about the house being dirty. I worry about blogging. I worry about other people’s problems. And from most outer appearances I may seem like I have it all together, but inside I’m a ball of anxiety. Most of my anxiety started when I was a teenager, but it came to a head when I was preparing for my wedding.

Sure, sure it’s possible that I was just a blushing bride with a lot on her plate and much to do to create the perfect wedding. Every woman becomes a basket case at this point in her life, right? Mine remained long after my wedding. Pretty sure that I was just born a worry wart. In my case, I’d say I’m a worry tumor! 🙂

I’ve only recently decided to talk about this to anyone because I feel that some might have noticed it from outer appearances. I’m mostly good at keeping it inside, but I sometimes seem a bit distant and zoned out. I told a friend of mine about it and apparently I’m not the only one. It was nice to find someone who could relate. I’m sure the levels of anxiety are different for different folks.

There’s a little thing called motherhood that I’ve come to the conclusion will increase your level of anxiety if you didn’t already have it. From the moment that I saw my baby girls for the first time to making sure they were still breathing each moment while they were sleeping, it’s easy to find things to worry about when it comes to being a mommy. I’m realizing that it’s the last few months that I’ll have my older daughter home before she goes off to kindergarten in the fall. Yep, that’s enough to give a mom some anxiety huh?

Even though I’m losing my hair,

I call my children the wrong name,

I can’t tell you what 9 times 7 is,

I probably need a shower,

my house is a wreck,

I might cry before the day is over…..

I love every moment of motherhood and all the other things that life throws my way. Hopefully you’ll catch me on a good day. 🙂

Have any of you gone through bouts of anxiety before? How did you handle it? Did you go to a doctor? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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Comments

  1. Like you, my anxiety started in my teen years; it manifested itself in the form of insomnia. Everyone just thought I was a night owl, but I really Could Not sleep. I spent nights reading, or writing angst-ridden teenage poetry in the dozens of journals that filled over the years. Funny thing was, it didn’t go away when the teen years passed.

    I managed it, though. Married, had two great boys, inched forward a day at a time. Unfortunately, in my case, my marriage was not great, which fed the anxiety until it grew into much bigger problems. After 11 years, the marriage ended with much ugliness and stress for me.

    Flash forward. Remarried to a wonderful man, my two boys doing well, a new baby boy in the picture as well … but the anxiety refused to let go.

    So, yes, I did go to a doctor. Several of them, actually. It took me years of medication and therapy to fight anxiety that became a horrible depression, but it was worth it. I’ll spare you the minute details, but it was a terrific battle!

    Today I am happy, medication-free, therapy-free, and anxiety-free – other than the occasional normal situation induced variety. It has been another 12 years, I have a beautiful family that now includes an adorable nearly three year old daughter, and life is good.

    My advice would be this – if the anxiety becomes consuming (and only you will truly know when this occurs), then go talk to a professional. It doesn’t make you weak or any less of a great mom/wife/etc., it actually makes you stronger in all of those areas. Do not be afraid to get help. Help does not necessarily mean medication; it might mean therapy, or maybe just learning some new relaxation techniques. The point is, do what works for you, what YOU need. In the end, it will be worth more than I can describe with words.

  2. Jennifer says

    My Dear Amy, anxiety will always be a part of your life. That is, if you breathe, live, love, laugh, cry, get mad, or do anything else that requires you to consciously “keep going,” you will also experience anxiety. Its normal, and you’re not alone. 🙂

    We all experience anxiety and worry if we care anything at all about the people and world around us. Why? Because any one outcome you can formulate relies on the unknown variable. It could be your child waking up with a fever on the day they finally get to go their first birthday party for a friend. It’s realizing you didn’t include a debit in your check registry, so now your card bounces when you’re buying groceries. It can even rear its head when you’ve typed a well thought-out blog in the middle of the night that just “came to you”, and you rush to check for any responses or comments the next morning, only to find you logged off without ever hitting the submit button.

    I had such anxiety about my finances when my marriage ended, I was up every night long after I’d put my son to bed, pushing the keys on an old hand-cranked calculator, wondering if I was going to be able to pay my bills and have enough left over for food! I was well into what had become my nightly ritual, and realized in the middle of pulling the lever yet another time – I’ve made it four and a half months! The relief that knowledge gave me was like winning the lottery! I could finally breathe! We could split a Happy Meal and call it “going out to eat” and my son didn’t know any difference. He was tickled to “go out to eat”! He still smiled. He still got a full belly. We came home and played with his free toy until it fell apart, then I’d watch him make something else out of it. Children are so resilient, we should simply take a look at how they handle things. Yes, losing the ice cream off their cone may seem like the end of the world at the moment, but after a few tears and reassurance from others around them, they move on and forget it even happened 10 minutes later!

    So, #1: we allow ourselves to cry (or worry, or whatever you do). Feeling the moment is what we need to do for ourselves. Its part of the process where we recognize the problem. #2: We seek reassurance. We talk to others, to a therapist, to our Mom, to a stuffed blue mouse from childhood called “Morpheous”. We recheck the figures in the checkbook and realize we get paid tomorrow and its already after 5:00, so we’re good tonight. #3. “We’re good tonight,” is the first step back to reality, when we can figure out the plan to get past the rough spot. The fever will pass and there will be other birthday parties, or you can arrange a play-date when your child is well and take the birthday child a cupcake and her gift. The point to #3 is …..moving on.

    And moving on is what we all do. Its sort of like that old saying about getting older—the only alternative is death, so getting older doesn’t seem so bad. 🙂

    If you read very many other mother’s blogs, you’ll see you’re not alone. I know your mother experienced some of the same experiences I had and yet, through it all, she moved on. The Blessing you got from her courage and resilience is…..you will too!

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