I joined a mom group in my area about 3 years ago because I knew I would need something to do to fill my days with my twin girls while I was 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 3 months pregnant. I just could not do that anymore. I wanted to pay more attention to raising my children and helping my husband build a company that 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.
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 can do it all. I can be a mom, wife, businesswoman, girl power, yada yada. I’m like ok let me get some help with the girls and continue working on my business, that did not work out well either, they were just 3 months old and it was 2 of them, they needed their mom.
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 and play music and dance, just 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.
So here I am, at home with the girls, I have my social group and things are progressing nicely but then something strange started to happen. I started to have feelings that I could not explain. My heart was racing like really 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 just lay still until this feeling passed. Then I would think if I die what would happen to my children 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 was having mini heart attacks, I spoke with one of the mom’s in the group, her name is Sarah.
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 very important question because that was when I was able to pinpoint that I may have been experiencing postpartum anxiety; it is very common 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.
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 was making me get to this state of my heart pounding in my chest? Some of what seems like the simplest 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 just didn’t get to make the beds that day and the house was a mess, or my kids didn’t get an A on the presentation that we practiced tirelessly all weekend for, simple things.
I decided to address it. 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 the things that I can control and let go of the worries associated with things I could not. I recognised when I was trying to take on too much and I lessened my load.
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.
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 just talk. 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 that have had similar experiences and that 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?