“I have a confession. I have a crippling fear my child will get taken.
A close friend told me once, ‘Anxiety holds hands with fear.’ And the fear of losing one of my children at a park, or the zoo, or even the grocery store, has paralyzed me at times. I feel like I have held my kids back from incredible adventures. It’s like I’m keeping them from experiencing things I know they would love because the fear of someone taking one of them is so overwhelming that it is often easier and safer to just stay at home. Even as infants I was terrified to simply take the triplets in a walk down the block and back. I was consumed with worry and fear.
However, in the last year or so I have taken steps to help me with my anxiety struggles. I am a part of an amazing moms group called MOPS. This was essential in helping me make friends in my area and walk through some of my daily challenges with moms who offer no judgement or criticism, just love. Last spring, our MOPS group held an Easter Egg Hunt at a large park in our city. I knew we would not attend this event – not because we were busy or out of town; but because this park is a panic attack waiting to happen. It was huge and wasn’t gated. I knew I wouldn’t even attempt it.
The special day was upon us I told one of the other moms in my group the truth about my recent panic attacks and that I would be skipping the egg hunt due to my anxiety. I felt ashamed. I knew how magical this celebration would be for the triplets, but I also knew the kind of anxiety it would bring me. I was fearful of not being able to watch all three of my kids at one time. What if they ran off? What if someone took them?
My friend asked me if she could reach out to a few of our ‘Mentor Moms’ to see if any of them could help me with my kids, so I would be able to join in the special day. Initially, I was embarrassed and felt like a burden, but I know that was not the case. My friend found two mentor moms willing to help me with my kids that day. And it turned out to be an amazing time. The joy I got to share with my kids was so fulfilling and rewarding. I felt, although this type of adventure is a still a major struggle for me, it was a huge step forward in asking for help.
I think, as moms, it is important to be honest and vocal about our needs. Expressing your needs helps those around you understand what you are going through and be there for you in ways you may need them. I choose things I know I can handle, but what this experience taught me is that it is okay to ask for help in things I think I cannot handle.
I want to acknowledge you, myself, and anyone else who may be struggling with any kind of mental health. It helps being vulnerable in sharing my own journey, the joys and the struggles. I am here to cheer you on, and in return, also cheer me on! You are a fighter and you are a great Mama. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (especially yourself). No matter where you are on your mental health journey, be reminded that we are in this together!”
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