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Because Mommy Has Anxiety

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I'm exhausted, completely worn out, but I can't fall asleep. I have my monitors blaring full volume and brightness, and I'm staring at my sleeping kids waiting for one of them to get up. I'm waiting for tears to turn into screams, my cue to go running down the hall to comfort someone. My brain is on 10% battery, but it stays awake, waiting for something— so I lay here waiting.

Because mommy has anxiety.

I wait for the baby to need to be rocked. I wait for her to stop coughing. Will she puke? Maybe I should pick her up? And do I need to bring her to the doctor again? It's just a cough, wait, let me check her temperature…no fever, yet… but it sounds bad—so I lay here waiting.

Because mommy has anxiety.

I think about the milestones and if my daughter is talking enough. She is stringing two words together but speaks more Minion than English. Am I screwing my family up? Does my oldest have behavioral issues? I can't stop thinking--so I lay here waiting.

Because mommy has anxiety.

I think about things that WILL eventually happen. I worry how others will treat my kids when mama bear isn't there to turn grizzly. One day some kid is going to say something mean to one of them because that's what mean kids do. And my heart will rupture out of my chest--I know it. Because it will hurt my child—and that'll kill me. You can't worry about something that hasn't happened, they say. Well, mommy has anxiety, so she can—so I lay here waiting.

An anxious brain is inherited. It's not our fault; we are how we are.

We ruminate.

We dwell.

We think about hypotheticals.

We compare, judge, and feel guilt.

With the addition of each child, the busyness increases, and so does the anxiety—because there is more to worry about. Anxiety is messy. Motherhood is messy-- but the mess is what life's all about.

And one day if our kids have anxiety, we'll approach them with empathy, get them help, and nurture them by laying with them—

waiting, while it takes its natural course—

and helping them continue living through it.

We'll model healthy ways to manage it, so they’ll know—

“mommy has anxiety, but she's okay.

So, I’ll be okay too.”

This post originally appeared on the author's Facebook. Her book Living FULL: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorder is available on Amazon:

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