giving birth to anxiety.

A couple of days ago, I was reading Stephanie’s blog, and came across a post that literally made me laugh out loud, and do some thinking. Stephanie, a sweet, sweet blogging friend of mine is a new(er) mom to Allie, who is just about the cutest thing I’ve seen, with the juiciest cheeks. Anyway, in her post, ‘A Mother’s Intuition’, she talks very lightheartedly about the dreaded anxiety that comes along with motherhood. She mentions deciding to walk to the grocery store and in turn, picturing several different scenarios in her mind. In one of them, she imagines herself having a seizure while pushing her 5 month old, wherein the stroller goes out into traffic and is hit by an oncoming car. I literally laughed out loud when I read that. And not because I think a scenario like that is funny, because it’s not (and neither does Steph). Nor do I think seizures are a laughing matter, because they’re not. What I do find funny, however, is the fact that she imagined, in her words, these ‘absolutely impossible, yet highly likely‘ scenarios happening to her. You wanna know why?

Because I do that ALL THE TIME.

From the very first day I found out I was pregnant with PB, I read all of the books I could about pregnancy. I avoided caffeine like the plague. I heated my turkey sandwiches. I axed baths. I didn’t raise my hands above my head. I put myself into a state of sheer panic about anything and everything I did while I was pregnant.

fishing, very carefullyv(!) , at 7 months pregnant

And then about 6 months into pregnancy, I guess I realized how irrational I had become and how fear and anxiety had taken over my mind and body. My blood pressure was getting a little high around that time and I figured I need to chill out. So I prayed. And prayed. And prayed a little more, and God’s peace surrounded me during the last few weeks and I didn’t worry nearly as much as I had before. I thought all was good. I worried so much during pregnancy about my unborn baby and delivery, that I couldn’t wait to hold him in my arms. Then, I wouldn’t worry any more because my baby was here happy and healthy. And my worry and anxiety would just up and leave when we checked out of the hospital. Yep. That’s what would happen.

Wrong.

I gave birth to anxiety.

Yes, right there in the delivery room. I thought that the birth of my sweet, healthy baby boy would be the end of that epic anxiety I had felt during pregnancy. I thought that having him in my arms would ease the worry I had felt about him. And I really couldn’t have been more wrong. I really feel like I gave birth to a lifetime full of anxiety.

I messaged Stephanie and told her I could totally relate. She put into words my exact thoughts from these past 2 years. I imagine these impossibly crazy thoughts in my head and yet feel fairly certain they could happen.

An example: I remember the first outing I had with PB by myself.  I think I actually took him to the Target. We had been couped up in the house for a while, and I felt like we were ready to venture out on our own, sans dad, or grandparents. Just us. I did pretty well on the ride over, and even initially while we were in the store. But after about 15 minutes in the store, I started panicking. Like a clammy, heart-racing, sweaty, panic. What if he fell out of the buggy (aka shopping cart)? What if someone came and swiped him straight from my hands? What if I passed out cold and woke to a missing baby? What if, what if, WHAT IF?!

And now two years later, what I thought was ‘new mom anxiety’, seems to be more like ‘lifetime mom anxiety’.

He sneezes. He’s caught the bubonic plague.

He’s tired. He’s got some debilitating disease.

He farts. He’s got a life-threatening stomach parasite.

And you know, the scary thing is I consider myself to be fairly laid back when it comes to parenting. I don’t really think of myself as ‘over-protective’. But I tend to let these unthinkable, worse case-scenarios consume my thoughts.

So how do you get rid of it? How do you relax, and free your mind of all the worry for your child?

Well, I’m not so sure you do get rid of it. At least all of it. I think some of it is a ‘mother’s nature’. I mean for Pete’s sake, we carry this little life in our body for 9 months. We become quite attached and fiercely loyal. I think some of it is our instinct to be protective and to be on our toes at all times. And quite frankly, I think it’s our job to worry, just a little.

The problem comes, though, when we let that worry consume us. And I have been guilty of this many times. In fact, just last week I had one of my “moments”. I managed to convince myself that PB had bacterial meningitis after he twisted his neck in an awkward position while at home with Ben. I insisted they go to the doctor, and I practically laid in my office in the fetal position,  sweating to death and making numerous trips to the bathroom, until I heard the all-clear from the doc.

It’s crazy. I know.

It’s irrational. I know.

I do let it that worry consume me sometimes. I panic, and allow doubts and negativity to creep in. And when that starts to happen, I try to stop what I’m doing and pray. I remind myself that these thoughts are not from God, and God made me for more than worry and anxiety. And I ultimately remind myself that God is in control of His childrens’ lives. And PB is a child of God. No amount of worry or stress can change any outcome for the positive. I try to imagine myself simply resting in His arms. Sometimes, that’s all I feel like I can do. Just rest and trust in Him. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I cannot make it on the journey through motherhood without Him.

I imagine that I’ll be dealing with this until the day I’m gone. I know I will always worry about him. I mean for cryin’ out loud, ain’t nobody gonna take care of that boy like his mama does (remember that, potential girlfriends). I just need to make sure that I keep that worry in check and keep it from consuming me by constantly reminding myself that WE are His children, and He is in control. No amount of worry can change the outcome. Or His love for us.

Are you guilty of letting your worry for your kiddos consume you? How about worry, in general? What are your tips to keep it at bay?

Have a blessed Monday 🙂

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an unexpected blessing.

This past summer was a lesson in patience and faith for me. I was out of work and searching (desperately) for a teaching position with my new teaching certificate. In case you are new to these parts, I quit my so-called ‘dream job’ in late 2011 to pursue a career in education. I followed that with 4 months of unpaid student-teaching, followed by slap-ya-in-tha-face unemployment.

At any rate, I spent much of the summer months frantically looking for a job. I filled out job applications like it was my job. I applied for all of the local school systems. I was ultimately aiming for a K-6 teaching position. I did check local college positions, too. I came across an instructor position at my alma mater. It was in communications, teaching public speaking and business communications. My Master’s degree is in Communications, so I applied for it and went on with life.

I ended up getting an interim teaching position in 1st grade, praise the Lord. I really enjoyed it and felt truly comfortable there. I had forgotten all about the instructor position I had applied for until I got the call. It was from the department chair and she was asking me if I was still interested in the position. She said they’d be hiring for the spring semester instead of the fall. I told her that I was employed at the time, but I would be interested in hearing more about it.

We went back and forth for a few days. I went up for a visit at the college and she offered me the job. Ben and I talked about it and prayed about it. I loved my job, and hated the thought of leaving the kids, but at the end of the day, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

So what exactly does the opportunity entail? It is a full-time teaching position, with full benefits. I teach 4 classes currently (3 public speaking classes and 1 business communications class). I work, and here’s the clencher, THREE DAYS A WEEK! Yep. I am so excited about that. I teach two days a week, and then I have office hours on the other day. I observe the college schedule, which means I get summers off (unless I decide to teach summer classes for extra cash), a winter break, fall break, and spring break. And I work with some pretty phenomenal people. That’s always a good perk 🙂

As much as I loved teaching 1st grade, I just couldn’t pass up the chance to spend more time at home. I will NEVER look back on my life and wish I had spent more time at work. When I made my decision to leave, I told Ben this: “When PB is 18, and I’m watching him pack his bags for college, there is NO way I could look him in the eye and tell him I turned down an opportunity to spend more time with him when he was growing up”.

And that’s it.

I resigned the first week of January. My principal and coworkers were so understanding and so supportive of my decision. That made it easier. I’ve been teaching at the college now for 2 weeks. I really, really like it. I’m still getting to do what I love (teach), while being at home an extra two days!

I would have NEVER imagined an opportunity like this. But you know, that’s why God’s work is so amazing. He provides for us far beyond our comprehension. Only 6 months ago, I was praying for a teaching job. ANY TEACHING JOB. And then He blesses me with a good job. And then he blesses me with an even better job, one that allows me to play trucks and cowboys two extra days a week.

God knows the desires of our hearts, and if we come to Him, ready to be used for His glory and according to His will, His blessings are limitless, and far better than anything we can imagine.

I don’t want to fill up my new schedule too soon, but I’m imagining it will be filled with toys, hide and seek, mommy and son dates, thrift store shopping, a little more crafting, and hopefully more blogging 🙂

Have a blessed Friday 🙂

a (late) christmas recap.

Where did Christmas go?

No, seriously. I was shopping my socks off just 3 days before Christmas, and all of the sudden it’s gone. My tree is down. My decorations are boxed up. And I’ve eaten all of my Christmas fudge (buttttttt, I can always make more).

This was such a whirlwind of a holiday. It went by too fast, and we did absolutely nothing. Maybe that’s why it flew by.

We traveled to Boone, North Carolina on the Friday before Christmas to spend time with Ben’s mom. She had rented a condo on top of Beech Mountain, and we came in just as a literal blizzard was going on. The wind was ridiculous. It was whirling around all night. I think we all got around 1.75 hours of sleep that first night.

We had a great weekend, and were able to get out and play in the snow a little. We took PB sledding, and although he wasn’t a huge fan of the snow flying in his face, I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it and join the ranks of his sledding enthusiast mother.

this was after I crashed into the haybale ‘seating’ area

We also got to stop and shop at one of my favorite stores in Valle Crucis, the Mast General Store. If you’ve never been to a Mast, you need to treat yourself. It’s such a quaint little store with odds and ends. I could get lost in there.

We came back home on Sunday, and were able to enjoy Christmas Eve with my family. It amazing how much fun Christmas becomes with babies in the picture. My uncle has a little boy who’s almost 4, and he and PB play so good together now. It’s so much fun to watch, and it reminds me of me and my cousins years ago.

We came home Christmas Eve night and laid our cookies and milk out for Santa. PB cried. He wanted the cookies for himself. He said he didn’t want Santa to eat them. We put PB to bed, and then we participated in an age-old ritual practiced by millions of parents around the universe, putting those dern toys together.


We were up well past midnight putting trains and tool benches together, you know, because Santa needed a little bit of help gettin’ that stuff up through our gas log pipes.

I may have slept 3 hours that night. I stayed up watching Christmas movies snuggled up on the couch, soaking up every last bit of Christmas. I was so excited about watching PB open his presents. We had been talking about Santa and his job (more on that later) for a few weeks, so I think he really knew something was up.

We woke up before PB Christmas morning, and turned on his electric train (that was a Santa gift). He heard it immediately and jumped up. We went to get him in his room and he was already pumped up. He ran in to the living room and started grabbing at all of his presents. We let him open the first one (which was a new pack of markers). After that, he was done, ready to draw. We had to pry the markers out of his hands to open the rest. He tore through all of his presents in no time.

His ‘big’ thing was a Craftsman work bench and an electric train set. The train set was a little too big for him, but he’ll really enjoy it in a few years. And the best part was that we got it for FREE! Yep, we won it during a visit to the Santa Train.

It was SO much fun to watch him open his presents. The look on his face while he opened presents gave me a whole new appreciation for Christmas. I’ve always been overly excited about Christmas, but experiencing the holiday with a toddler has taken my enthusiasm to a whole new level. Creating traditions with him and instilling that same excitement that I feel in him just made my day. To see the world through the eyes of a child again…..

The rest of our Christmas was spent eating, lounging, and playing with our new toys. Ben got me a new skillet and a mixer. Those were the ‘toys’ I played with. We had such a nice, relaxing break, with little obligations. We rented movies and slept in (a little). It was a true staycation!

We hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (although this post is now a month late), and wish you many wonderful things for the new year!

Have a blessed Wednesday 🙂

slacking.

Currently, I have 3 unfinished posts waiting in the wings to be published. One is a Christmas recap. It doesn’t quite seem right to do a Christmas recap in the middle of January, but I will. So when you see a post pop up that says ‘oh, where did Christmas go’, just know that I have been slacking tremendously. TREE-MEND-OUS-LY.

But, I have, in my defense, a couple of reasons why.

1. I have a new job. Yes, a new job! And I can’t wait to tell you all about it, and how it’s been in the ‘God’ works since summer, when I was pleading desperately for a job, and one that would allow more time at home. Oh, y’all. I am SO excited!

2. We’ve been passing the stomach virus around my house now for the past two weeks. And this ain’t yo mama’s stomach virus either. Let me put it this way. I ate my FIRST meal in 4 days yesterday. And I’ve still not had anything sweet.

3. And we’ve got some big (for us) plans brewing in our not-too-distant future! I can’t wait to share details about that too.

In the meantime, I’m playing post ‘catch-up’, so we’ll pretend it’s Christmas in January.

Have a blessed Monday 🙂