Why My Anxiety Improved with Motherhood
Written by: Meagan Saia
Being ridiculously sensitive has its perks in life. But it also has its downfalls. My heart loves so very much but, like all hearts, it also hurts. And the source of my heart’s biggest hurt: anxiety.
My anxiety is a constant, amplified battle. It causes a physical reaction in my body, causing my heart to truly ache. This is a battle I’ve fought and resented for years, trying to hide it as best I could. As a kid I obsessively worried about friendships and fitting in with my peers. As an adult I’ve done the same. Health concerns are always floating around in my anxious mind. Having to make an important decision with my brain is a nightmare. My anxiety is truly an hourly struggle.
My anxiety also caused me to doubt my ability to ever be a good mom. Would I be too anxious? Would my child inherit this trait? Selfishly, I was afraid it was going to be too much for my anxious heart to handle. I knew in the depths of my heart I was meant to be a mom, but I still had so much fear about whether or not I could handle it due to my anxiety. In the end it came down to trust. I trusted that I was designed to be a mom. I trusted that it would eventually be ok, no matter what the outcome. I was ready to dive into parenthood, anxiety in tow.
Owen was born five days late. After a grueling pregnancy and over 48 hours of labor, he finally arrived via emergency c-section. I was so worried about him in the operating room. All I needed to hear was his Apgar score. That silly little number meant everything to me. It meant whether or not I could ignore my anxiety because I had a healthy, strong baby or it meant that my baby was struggling. What a relief when the nurse finally said, “Nine!” That number had never sounded better. With my initial fears at ease, I was able to settle into the role of being a new mom.
Having a newborn is often compared to a roller coaster ride. The ups are amazing, but the downs can be terrifying. Six weeks in we had a taste of the terrifying, an incident that helped me realize how my anxiety shifted with motherhood. I was hosting a bridal shower for a friend at my house – with a 6 week old. Luckily I had the help of my mom who came into town from Maryland, and there were other bridesmaids to assist as well. The shower was on Sunday and we spent Friday and Saturday getting the house ready. Our garage began leaking, and as new parents it was the last thing we wanted to deal with so we had a repair guy stop by. I went down to let him in through the garage. The next thing I knew, I was flat on my back and in excruciating pain with blood seeping into the water. I had slipped on the leak and cracked my head open.
Pre-mom Meagan would have been panicking with thoughts of brain injuries. New-mom Meagan thanked God profusely that I was not holding Owen at the time of the fall. It was amazing how much my outlook had changed. I was no longer worried and anxious about myself, but simply grateful that my 6-week-old son wasn’t injured.
I had gained a new perspective: a mom’s perspective, turning my focus to thankfulness instead of fear.
Today, I still have the typical new mom anxieties, at times amplified of course. I find myself checking on Owen each night to make sure he is still breathing. But in those moments of fear watching him take his next breath, there is also the most calming peace as I watch his chest continue to rise and fall, knowing he is safe and sound.
I’ve learned so much about my anxiety. It can heal as it ebbs and flows. The healing may take a while, and it may not heal completely, but my anxiety softens in the moments of motherhood. Owen helps me love my heart for what it is, and in turn I fall more and more in love with him. His big blue eyes are my heart’s best medicine. And no matter my flaws, he loves me because I am his Momma.
About the Author: Meagan is baby Owen’s momma. She is a wife, teacher, reader, yogi, sometimes writer at Lifeofowen.wordpress.com and truly enjoys this crazy, beautiful world. You can find her on Instagram (meagjane07) or Facebook.