Palms start to get sweaty.
Mouth begins to go dry.
I want to laugh, cry and scream all at the same time, but my throat feels constricted and it’s too hard to breathe.
Have you ever stopped to think about the act of breathing? When you really just sit down and focus on each breath you take, it starts to become labored. Once you start to concentrate solely on this involuntary action, your brain almost gets in the way of it…
Sometimes I really think that we sort of take breathing for granted. Our bodies just simply know what to do, and that fact is something that is expected. But on occasion, it seems like that very same body turns against us.
Fear overtakes, everything good in the world falls away and it is replaced with uncertainty, terror and paralyzing self-doubt.
Panic has officially set in, breathing is nearly impossible and nothing will ever be right again.
Well, I don’t know if that is exactly the case…. But it is definitely what it feels like.
These are the feelings that overcome me when I am not with my babies. This, I can only assume, is postpartum anxiety.
Parenting, to me, is kind of like breathing. Some times it’s this beautiful involuntary act that my body and soul just know how to do. But then, when I sit down and start to over analyze every moment my brain gets in the way.
Interestingly enough, in most areas of life, I am an incredibly rational person.
What’s even more intriguing, is that when it comes to my children, I (in theory) am also pretty level-headed.
Understanding that children have a strong need to socialize with people other than their parents is not lost on me.
Realizing that I cannot have my children with me 24 hours a day, seven days a week is something that I don’t need to be told.
Constant contact with only our immediate family is not healthy for me, and it is not healthy for them, of this, I am completely aware.
Lately, however, as the panic creeps up my neck and throughout my body, all of this logic tumbles out the window. Irrational thoughts are all I am left with and those I just can’t shake.
Long story short, whenever my children are with someone else, I start to lose it. I really just want them to give me my babies back.
Having them in the same room as me, or at the very least under the same roof, provides a sense of comfort that no well-intentioned text or picture message can provide.
Who they are with doesn’t seem to matter either. Whether it be my husband or the grandparents. Babysitter or a family friend… If I am not the one they are with, I am panicking.
Of course, I expected all of the usual uneasiness associated with being a new parent (and I truly don’t think that many of those worries will ever leave us) but this is something entirely different.
While I don’t want to self-diagnose, I know that this feeling isn’t normal and I know it’s only getting worse.
So, I have taken matters out of my own hands and I have scheduled an appointment with my doctor.
I am not ashamed to say that something is wrong, and I am definitely not embarrassed to say that I need some help.
Because, while at the core, this is about me, it can also very easily have a negative effect on my children and those closest to us.
Refusing to become a mom who doesn’t allow my children to have life experiences because of my fear is my new reality.
Becoming the type of parent who holds them back because I’m holding on too tight is not something that I can allow.
Embracing the joy that comes with spending time with others is something that I dearly wish for them.
I want them to run at life with open arms, happiness, and optimism.
To build eternal memories with people who very honestly love them unconditionally.
Allowing them to see me at this uncharacteristic point in my life and giving them the impression that the world is a place that they should continuously fear is unfair.
Causing them to believe that safety is lost on them if they are not always by my side is untrue.
These are only lies that the anxiety is telling me and I won’t allow them to be projected onto my little ones.
Because my job is not to keep my children safe by holding them down or holding them back.
Holding their hands and walking beside them is how I will help them grow.
Keeping them safe when they need me to, and learning how to recognize when they don’t, is my goal.
Will it be easy? Unlikely. Will I continue to fear for the safety and well being of two of the most important little humans in my life? Absolutely.
But one thing is perfectly clear, I have to try.
To the other moms out there that might be feeling a little off (and I’m sure there are many of us) please don’t discredit your feelings. Remember that you aren’t alone, that it is absolutely OK to feel scared and that it is understandable to feel panicked.
The love that we have for our children defies all logic or reason and sometimes that can become completely overwhelming.
Most important, is to remember how to breathe and above all else, to ask for help if we need it.
Certainly I don’t have all the answers, in fact, I don’t really have any of the answers.
Never-the-less, if anyone out there just needs someone to talk to, please don’t ever feel embarrassed or ashamed to reach out. I am perpetually happy to lend an ear, it truly does take a village.