Photos by Briana Lindsey Photography
Let’s talk about mom anxiety.
If you know me, you know I’m the most laid back mom in the world. Like I’m so laid back and have been since Ava was born, that I’ve had countless people ask if Ava’s my 2nd or 3rd child. Maybe it’s because I have two little sisters or maybe because I’ve done a whole lot of babysitting in my life but no matter what made me that way, that’s just how I am.
Now I’m talking about things like letting Ava feed herself and get messy, I let her play in the dirt (the literal dirt), whenever she falls I never coddle her unless she comes and asks me to, I’m not worried if we aren’t home for nap time or bed time, I’m not super scared of germs like most first time moms are, I’ve always encouraged her to be independent...those kinds of things.
And then there’s bed time — Ava’s slept in her own crib in her own room since the day she came home from the hospital. Of course we take all of the necessary precautions like no blankets or pillows or stuffed animals in the crib, she’s always slept on her back, we had a monitor on her diaper at night until she was about 9 months old (when Baxter ate it) and I’ve always had a monitor in our room to check on her when needed. But generally speaking, I’m pretty laid back.
But since Ava was born, there’s always been this kind of anxiety I’ve had that I can’t really describe. Like things I never ever thought about before are daily and sometimes hourly thoughts.
I feel like I see so much sadness and hurt in the world that instead of my usual “that won’t happen to us” point of view that has always enabled me to just live my life and live it well, I now realize that any of these things could very well happen to us because I’m seeing them happen daily.
What if that sniffle she has is actually something much bigger and I’m just not seeing the signs?
What if there’s a tragic accident at a sleepover?
What if there’s a shooting at her school?
What if? What if? What if?
I see terrible and sad and heartbreaking things happening on the news and all I can think of is Ava and the “what if’s” behind them. What if that was us? What if that happened to us? And I’ll be honest, it’s a bit draining at times. I can’t keep her from school and sleepovers and driving and cars and swimming in pools and college and friends and fun. I just can't and I won't. I can’t hold her and shelter her the rest of her life. I'm her biggest supporter and biggest protector and yet, there are so many things in life I will never be able to protect her from.
I know it’s all just because I’ve never experienced love this strong and this deep and each and every day that passes, my love grows stronger for her. And all of that love makes the thought of something terrible happening that much more frightening.
And then there’s me —
What if something happens to me? What if that headache is actually something much bigger? What if Ava has to grow up without me just like I lost my mom when I was 19 years old? What if that happens to her? It’s heartbreaking that that’s even a possibility.
These thoughts never even came to my mind before this precious baby girl came into my life and at times, I feel like they take over my life — they’re constant and they’re like flood filling up my brain.
But I want to live my life knowing that God has a plan for us and I want to be content and happy in knowing that He has the perfect plan. I want to life happy and fully and I want to live the best life we can and just enjoy every single precious moment we have together. But that mom anxiety is real and it’s rough and it’s with me always.
So here’s my question:
How do you deal with mom anxiety? Is this just a new part of my life that’ll always be there because I'm a mom and I've got the most loving, perfect human to protect? How do you all cope with the "what if's?