I joined a mom group in my area about three years ago because I knew I would need something to do to fill my days with my twin girls while on maternity leave. I had decided to never go back to my 9 to 5 life; I had left my job when I was about three months pregnant. I could not do that anymore. I wanted to pay more attention to raising my children and helping my husband grow a company we had already built on paper. I had a small business venture I had started as well that I thought I could do, but that did not work out for me, and I had to take time off.
The Juggling Act
I had underestimated what it was like being a mom of twins, a mom of 4 altogether, and trying to run a business. I was exhausted 99% of the time, but I was trying to wade through the pressure that I could do it all. I can be a mom, wife, businesswoman, girl power, yadda yadda. I decided to get some help with the girls and continue working on my business; that did not work out well either, they were just three months old, and it was two of them; they needed their mom.
Mommy Connections Durham
So anyway, back to joining a mom group. I did a google search, and one stuck out in my area (@mommyconnectionsdurham). As faith would have it, I met some lovely ladies in my mom group through interaction on the group’s page, participation in the classes that the organizer hosted, and attending socials. I have always been skeptical of mom groups for all the uninformed reasons one can imagine, but hey, I needed to be around other moms, and I decided to give it a shot.
The organizer of the group and I became close friends, and I even ran a few of her classes for her. We would visit each other’s homes; our girls would play with one another; we would cook, play music, dance, and have fun. I am an extroverted introvert (if this is a thing), and I needed to get out of my comfort zone, so the group worked well to help me with that process.
What An Anxiety Attack Felt Like
So here I am, at home with the girls, I have my social group, and things are progressing nicely, but something strange started to happen. I began to have feelings that I could not explain. My heart was racing; I wanted to scream for help but was afraid to let a sound out; I felt trapped. I would have to stay in my room and lay still until this feeling passed. Then I would think about what would happen to my children if I died, and then this weird panic would take over. It was so frightening and crippling, and I had no control over it, or so it felt. I remembered one day trying to articulate those feelings because I was sure I had mini heart attacks; I spoke with one of the moms in the group; her name is Sarah.
Postpartum Anxiety Is Common
I am not sure if she can remember the conversation, but she listened very intently, and then she asked me a very important question; she asked me, “what are your triggers?” I was so happy that she asked that critical question because that was when I was able to pinpoint that I may have been experiencing postpartum anxiety; it is prevalent after having multiples. It may have been a mild case; I never got it diagnosed because I think I had this strange denial that it could not be happening to me. I did extensive research on what I was feeling; I read stories from moms who experienced the same feelings and some of their coping mechanisms exercised, and so on.
My Anxiety Triggers
After speaking with Sarah and realizing I wasn’t dying, I was relieved, and then I started focusing on those triggers; what was it that made me get to this state of my heart pounding in my chest? Some of what seemed like the most superficial things threw me off, for example, if I felt I was not going to make an appointment on time or the kids were crying for a prolonged period. Or I didn’t get to make the beds that day, the house was a mess, or my kids didn’t get an A on the presentation that we practiced tirelessly for all weekend.
What Can I Control
Having recognized what my triggers possibly were, my next step was to address them. My husband, Brent, is a one-liner, and he too asked an important question, what can you control? I thought about it for a second; it was such a lightbulb moment. What can I control? That was the serenity prayer coming full circle for me, and that is what I decided to do. I decided to focus on what I could control and let go of the worries associated with things I could not. I recognized when I was trying to take on too much, and I lessened my load.
I Changed Things Up
I learned the art of saying no without explaining; if something did not fit my schedule, I worked around it or just let it go. I decided to start accepting help from my husband; I am not sure why I thought I could do it all by myself. I assigned chores to my children. I exercised, I prayed, I read, I….BREATHED….DEEPLY.
Where Is My Anxiety Now?
Even though I have come a far way, I still have anxious moments, and when I see that beast coming at me, I face it head-on, I fight. I call my parents and have a conversation. I watch a movie; believe it or not, Kung Fu Panda will set me straight. I have my family, especially my husband, and I know it must be hard for him when I get to a quiet place, but it is just me trying to figure things out. I have my circle of moms who have had similar experiences, which can help me navigate. I have a healthy respect for women, men, children, people who may struggle with anxiety and may not be able to put those feelings into words or have someone like Sarah ask a simple question like what are your triggers? So, tell me, what are your triggers?