Today for Mommy Monday my old friend, KE (Kristin), is sharing a bit about her experience with postpartum anxiety. I have known KE since making the Denver Nuggets Dancers in 2004. She was my captain and we have been friends since! She has a positive energy about her and is so much fun. She’s always been such a giving friend, willing to offer you the shirt off her back and somehow make you feel like you did her the favor! She’s the sweetest and makes everyone around her feel comfortable and welcome. She’s a bright light in this world! She is a servant and in all the time I’ve known her, she is always looking for ways to help others. Big or small. She gives some very good tips below. I know I will revisit this blog when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Sometimes just having a few ways to slow down, review what is important and worth your time, energy and stress is all it takes to regroup and feel better.
There’s a strange place between being a mom (new or experienced) and being the fun-loving, easy, mostly organized person that I’ve always known. This is a space that I know all moms in almost any stage of life share.
It’s that place where beautiful things take place. It’s where I experience the greatest of joy kissing or staring at our baby’s face. It’s a place where we can be inspired and maximize our awesomeness. That space is beautiful and sacred. I believe it’s because in that realm we are sensitive, open and vulnerable. And therefore, it can also be a dangerous place if not treated as beautiful and sacred.
To be vulnerable and sensitive means that the outside world can sneak in even when we don’t want it to. A friend’s seemingly harmless tease, a sideways glance from a stranger, an unwarranted negative email, even the news can cause an unwanted effect in that beautiful place. The self-doubt and negative self talk will thrive if we let it. We can feel the manifestation of a dark thorny space around our natural sun lit garden.
Unfortunately, I’ve at times forgotten that I make the choice on what gets to interrupt my physical and spiritual day-to-day experience (a.k.a life). So, to make things right for myself and my family, I turned to people that I believe have a gift in serving others. Specifically, I went to counseling and read the insights of leaders in healthy living.
Side note: I had a personal resistance to going to counseling. I thought there was a social stigma against “people that go to therapy”. My husband wasn’t a big fan of the idea. I was scared to talk about the uncomfortable and weird thoughts running in and out of my head. I wasn’t sure my “issues” were worth anyone’s time. I thought it would be expensive. THOSE WERE ALL EXCUSES and a huge dose of negative self talk.
I decided that there were individuals much smarter than myself who dedicated their lives (including an extensive education) to helping people like me address the issues and get on with enjoying life, returning to the beautiful space that I had once experienced. So, by the grace of God, I found an amazing therapist and I’ve learned so much about myself and techniques for enriching the fruits of my sacred garden.
I’m excited to share the golden nuggets that have helped me battle and overcome postpartum anxiety:
1. Prepare the night before a big day.
It’s a simple idea and yet it is so hard for me. I have to give kudos to Stefanie for inspiring me to get better at this art form. I’ve started to create a check list for each regularly occurring event in our household (i.e. going to school, going to dance, going to work, going to the gym, etc.). The checklist includes the items to pre-pack in the car and the fridge as well as breakfast suggestions. Practice is definitely putting me on the course to “good enough.” My mornings are becoming less stressed (which means the kids are happier) and I’m almost making it to places on time.
2. Sometimes choosing “good enough” over perfection makes for perfect.
Ali Figurin Asleson, one of the most influential humans in my ‘tribe’, shared with me the concept of letting something be good enough. The more I practice letting a particular situation or project become good enough, the more productive and happy I am. There’s something very satisfying about giving yourself a pat on the back for a job well done and not having over produced it. Using that philosophy I find more room for creativity and productivity. I’m not attached to every last detail (now, it might be different if I was planning my dream home) therefore, I’m open to finding beauty or refining the details that later surface.
3. Discover another way to receive the news.
Watching the news can be an energy suck for me. I tend to carry the emotions of victims or use my creative brain to imagine something far more severe than what was actually reported. Because of this crazy behavior, I usually ask my husband to tell me about any important current events… or I typically stumble across them on social media by accident. When I do watch the news I use it as an opportunity to pray for those that need it the most.
4. Love your life, not theirs!
My amazing counselor, Kim, often reminds me that when you play the comparison game we tend to compare ‘our worst’ to ‘their best’. This can make for some serious self doubt and negative talk. I’ve been practicing genuinely celebrating other’s successes (especially if my first instinct is to be jealous). There’s enough in this world for all of us- and we should celebrate the material items and opportunities that we are blessed with (even if your pretentious friend’s ______ is bigger than yours OR if you’ve worked at _______ longer… we are all AWESOME). There’s a book about this mentally exhausting game and the consequences that follow called Love Your Life, Not Theirs (by Rachel Cruze) and I’m ready to pre-order.
5. Give thanks and gratitude.
In whatever way you can, make sure that the people that consume your heart can absolutely FEEL your appreciation for them! When you use words to lift people up the energy is infectious— even if just for a moment (so have lots and lots of those moments). Illustrating kindness and serving others with your heart is the best thing you can do with your time. And the best part is that the time you spend is irrelevant because it can take a second or years. Serve a smile, prayer, errand, etc. to anyone and everyone who needs it and watch what you get in return— it’s the love effect… but here’s the most important thing… you must pay yourself acts of kindness and gratitude FIRST! Serving others is all about sharing your energy and you won’t have anything to share if you don’t first fill yourself. Do things that are fun, relaxing and enjoyable. Tell others very candidly what you need from them. Flex your ‘no’ muscle or maybe say ‘yes’. Flood your mind, body and spirit with self affirmations. Have a glass of wine. Make a margarita. Take a yoga class. Take a walk. Take a hike. Tell someone else who drains you to ‘take a hike’— the point is to fill yourself up in whatever conventional or unconventional way that makes sense. You are worth it. I am worth it. We are worth the time we choose to spend on ourselves.
…and now it’s my turn to share some gratitude… Thank you for raising your babies the way that makes sense for your family. Thank you for endlessly helping friends even when you don’t have the time and your house is a mess. Thank you for keeping your spouse happy and self sacrificing from time to time. Thank you for reading this through its entirety. I appreciate you!
I told you she was awesome. She has two beautiful little girls and married her high school sweetheart who grew up next door to her! They are pretty much the cutest of all time.
I couldn’t agree more with the “news” part of KE’s blog. Sometimes it’s too much for me to watch the news. I love watching the Today Show every morning, but when the Orlando shooting happened, the little boy was attacked by the alligator, etc… my heart broke. So much hate and pain in the world. Right up in our face. I was emotional and soooo sad. My anxiety was getting worse. I needed to take a break from the news so I could refocus.
You can catch up on Mommy Monday blogs by clicking the links below. Pat yourself on the back. You’re doing a great job, mama! Every single one of you.
My Survival Guide KE is talking about is HERE 5 Things I Do Every Night My Story Caroline’s Story Sarah K’s Story Heather’s Story Britt’s Story Amanda’s Story Emily’s Story Rashelle’s Story Sarah P’s Story