“How lovely that everyone wants to reduce maternal anxiety without realizing that this adrenaline is keeping the entire family going.
This is tough to write. I can’t even put it into words, really. I’m stumbling all over them.
But anxiety, as much as it often triggers a physiological response and is called an illness or a disorder, is not always simple postpartum and beyond.
If you’ve ever experienced anxiety, you will have been told to reduce stress, get into therapy, find evidence for calm thoughts, and go for a walk.
Not always easy with a young family.
Reduce stress? With zero resources?
I think if we are trying to reduce this anxiety without taking ANYTHING off that person’s plate, it is basically the equivalent of telling someone with depression to look on the bright side. It’s toxic.
These symptoms are often a symptom itself of the system we are parenting within. Alone, with a huge mental load. You have to remember all the things or your kid misses out on dress up day. Crap, she’s pulling out of the driveway but she forgot the readers. Run back. Adrenaline. Keeping the cogs turning.
That anxiety. The fear of getting it wrong, their children missing out, their children’s needs not being met… that is it. It’s almost like the glue.
We completely discredit this mother if we disregard the intent behind her worry. We label her a perfectionist. We label her as anxious. She’s unwell.
I’m the first to advocate for adequate treatment. But if we are not looking at these high rates of anxiety and depression through the lens of this mother needing practical support, we are missing the point.
I hold a deep respect for the anxious mother.
It feels like a mess. And it is. Because she is the glue.
And yep, that anxiety is keeping it ALL running smoothly.
Uncomfortable and slightly problematic?
Any other option?
Not usually. If you have one, I’d love to hear it.
Feeling weak because you’re anxious? You’re the opposite. You’re so, so, so strong.
Respect the anxious mother. Help the anxious mother. Don’t discredit her worry. She’s alone with it. And it’s real. And it’s big.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Zelma of The Postnatal Project. You can follow her journey on Instagram and her website. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more from Zelma here:
‘I spent hours in this room yesterday. I walked in today, to this. I could have said a million things. I wanted to, but I didn’t.’: Mom shares important reminder to be mindful of our responses
‘They say a lot of things. They say mom should listen. But she doesn’t.’: Mom’s beautiful description of mindful parenting, despite criticism
‘I hate grass stains on trousers. Snotty and mucky faces are so gross!’ My parenting pet peeve is that this thread exists at all.’: Mom shares why parenting pet peeves are unfair
‘Look, everyone is having fun. Are we going to have fun at the beach, kids?’ It’s a demand, a plea.’: Mom shares glimpse at common chaos of parenting
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