Lately I’ve been worrying a lot! Worrying about the unknown. About the pain of giving birth. About being a good mother. About having everything ready for the baby. About money. About my life changing. About my relationship with my husband. About all the bad and scary things that could happen to my family and my child. The worries seem never-ending, consuming, and exhausting.
Often, I feel so overwhelmed by my worries that I can’t seem to get anything done. I will sit staring at a list of things to do with no motivation to start anything. “Maybe, I just need to take a nap and rest, then I’ll feel better,” I tell myself. But even the thought of resting makes me anxious. If I rest, that means I’m not getting anything done, and if I don’t get anything done, then I am just going to worry more. Yet, even if I don’t take some time to relax, I still won’t get anything done because I’m too busy worrying.
The cycle of worry is viscous and one many moms and moms-to-be get stuck in. Of course, it is completely normal to experience feelings of anxiety and worry as a mother. However, it can become an issue when it interferes with your level of functioning and your ability to enjoy life. Furthermore, if you are struggling to function and enjoy life, it may be difficult for your child to do the same. Just like you would help your child overcome a bully on the playground, you can overcome worry.
When you find yourself getting caught up in the cycle of worry, take a moment to ask yourself the following 3 questions about why you are worrying:
1) Am I worrying about something that is LIKELY to happen, or am I focusing on a HYPOTHETICAL problem that is UNLIKELY to occur?
Often, we worry about worse-case scenarios that happen very infrequently. For example, I may worry that I am going to have serious complications during childbirth that put my child and myself in danger; however, there are far more births where the mother and child are safe and healthy.
2) Is the thing I am worrying about in my immediate control?
If it is in your immediate control, then you can quickly nip that worry in the bud by resolving the problem. If you have little or no control over the outcome of the situation, then worrying is only causing you more stress. In the words of Dalai Lama XIV:
“If there is no solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem then don't waste time worrying about it.”
3) Can I handle the situation I am worried about?
You might be surprised as to what you are capable of. It is in human nature to often focus more on the bad than the good and to underestimate our strength. However, if you take an honest look at your past accomplishments, you will find that you have more conquests than defeats.
In addition to asking yourself these 3 questions, there are other things you can do to help cope with excessive worry, such as exercise, mindfulness techniques, self-care, and talking to a therapist or counselor. Worrying is a normal part of motherhood. However, it should not control your life. Worry is a bully that you can overcome!