Being a Mom with Anxiety Sucks



As far back as I can remember I have always been an anxious person. They called it a “nervous” stomach when I was in grade school and it wasn’t until college that I really could put a name to what I was feeling. I was diagnosed by my doctor with generalized anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder affects many people, and while It’s not a physical disorder, it is a mental disorder that has some very real physical effects. For me, it has always been the lofty panic attacks and feelings of dread that pull me in. Living with the disorder has violated my life in many ways— it’s messed with relationships, friendships, work life, and personal life, and most recently, motherhood. 

Being a mom with anxiety sucks.

When I was pregnant with my son I thought I had miraculously curved my panic attacks. I actually thought that perhaps motherhood would be a distraction and I would be too busy to ever fall victim to them again. Then, my son was actually born and I realized that my anxiety had only grown; instead of worrying about myself solely, now I worried about my son, and my husband, and my family. Every minute away from my son was a minute I didn’t know if something was wrong. I struggled with post-postpartum anxiety and found myself crying most days until I went back to work. That was two years ago. Now my son is a toddler; he’s more mobile, and still fragile. He is curious, which makes me so scared. How does one cope with anxiety for two or more?

As mothers and fellow human-beings, this means we should all be patient with each other.

If you notice a mom with anxiety or depression post-postpartum or even months or years after, then we need to not judge.

One of the worst things about being a mom with anxiety is that when it is debilitating, it feels like you are on display.

When I first had my son, I was a first-time mom, living hours from my own mother and family, and it was hard. We know that many mothers also go through these periods, or baby blues, but what doctors have been recently focused on is how many mothers stay anxious even beyond this period of time, and when baby blues turns into a full-fledged disorder. In addition to medical research which comforts me somewhat, I have relied on building my “mom tribe” or basically making friends with others that have children or have the same issues that I do. Groups like Corpus Christi Moms and others like it help bring people together to share resources, stories, advice, and more. Support systems with friends are crucial, but so is support systems within family units as well. I knew that when I was spending more days crying than not I needed the additional support and was so glad when my husband agreed that we needed to move back closer to my mom and family. It helped that it aligned with other opportunities, but I am so grateful to my husband for recognizing that I truly was not okay, and that motherhood was even harder for me in the midst of it all. 

Beyond the support systems that are truly needed, there are many methods out there that help when panic and anxiety arises. Some methods I have tried, like meditation and listening to music (which was very helpful during labor with my son) and others like yoga and even medication. Not everyone is the same when it comes with how they deal with their anxiety, but being open minded helps when things seem hopeless.

Being a mom with anxiety does suck, but being a mom without hope is even worse. If you are a mother suffering from anxiety, depression, or simply having a rough patch, remember that there are others like you.