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Anxiety and Motherhood

We LOVE our Momsanity Ambassadors and the wisdom that they share with thousands of women everywhere!  Sarah Waninger is one of our gals and we just adore here.  Today she shares all about ANXIETY in the face of motherhood.  So much wisdom and much to learn.  More about Sarah below…

I lie in bed just over one year ago I couldn’t sleep I was lying there with my heart pounding, my chest hurting, nauseous, sweaty...sitting in my bathroom thinking I could definitely be dying.  As  fitness professional, I know the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and thought I could most definitely be having one.  I took my pulse reassuring myself as I sat in the bathroom that I wasn’t dying that my pulse was normal that I was coherent, I was ok but man it didn’t seem like I was ok.

I made it through the night and then went to the ER with Dan.  A panic attack.  I was having a panic attack induced by anxiety.

I stopped in my a panic attack?  Are you sure?  I remember sitting with the doctor and just thinking to myself, no way only ‘those’ people have panic attacks, not me.  But as we talked through symptoms, causes, and effects of anxiety and depression I realized I did indeed have a panic attack that night just over one year ago.

The thing was I thought I did have it all together, whatever that really means.  I had two healthy kids, I worked out daily, I ate healthy, I have a great marriage, we go to church every week, I read my Bible.  And deep down I thought heck if I'm a Christian and have faith in God, I don't have anxiety...I can't have anxiety because I shouldn't as a Christian be I definitely had it all together.  Yes, I had it all together.  Or so I tried to tell myself.

The truth?  I don't know that I've ever shared the full truth but if I've learned anything in this past's that we are all in this together.  And being IN THIS means being VULNERABLE with you because deep down I know there are many other mothers just like me.  So the truth?

The truth is I didn't think I was enough.

I didn't make enough home made meals.  My house was never quite clean enough, I mean when was the last time I dusted?  or changed the sheets?   The truth was I wanted to lose 5 more pounds.  Truth was I was tired.  I was always worried that I wasn't doing a good job, that somehow I was scarring these kids for life.  On top of worrying about scarring my kids, I thought I was never doing a good enough job at being wife.  I had nothing left at the end of the day for my husband.  I worried that I wasn't patient enough. The list of not enough's went on and on and on.  I wasn't enough.  And all those thoughts of not enoughness drove me to do more to try and compensate.  And it was exhausting both mentally, physically, spiritually, emotionally.

The exhaustion and the constant feeling of not enough definitely sparked my anxiety and depression.  Having suffered from an eating disorder in the past and dealt with anxiety and depression then, I knew I was at a higher risk to experience mental health issues in the future...but it doesn't make it any easier to deal with. I wanted to have it all together, I wanted to be the best mom, I wanted to be the perfect wife...I wanted to be, happy.

And in that moment at the ER I had to be honest with myself and with my husband.  I wasn't happy.  I was overwhelmed.  I was tired.  I wasn't me.  And the moment I accepted that and that I needed help I became so much more at ease.

This past year has meant a lot of prayer, a lot of self reflection, and accepting that I CANNOT AND WAS NOT MEANT TO DO THIS ALONE.  I've had to consciously work on my self talk and learn to be much more vulnerable with my husband. Easy?  No.  Constant work?  Yes.  Worth it? Definitely.

Though I still deal with waves of anxiety and depression I now can recognize the thoughts, the symptoms, the circumstances and can better deal with them. I don't suffer from full out panic attacks often and for that I feel so blessed, but even small waves of anxiety and depression can be overwhelming.

Being a mom with anxiety makes an already hard job, harder.  And I want you, mom, to know that if you are suffering you can reach out for help.  Don't let any stigma of mental health keep you from getting help.  If nothing else, email me.  I want you to know that you are enough.

Moms each and every one of you are ENOUGH.

Being a mom with anxiety DOESN'T MAKE YOU LESS.  

Sarah lives in a small town in rural Indiana where she is surrounded by corn fields and toys...corn fields outside, toys inside.  She is a mom of twin, two year old boys and a wife to an amazing man.  Sarah runs Creating Better Tomorrow where her mission is to empower women to live their strongest most beautiful lives spiritually, mentally, and physically through a balanced approach.  Sarah teaches group fitness and runs an online training program with women while she's not stepping on toys or chasing chickens.  She loves living a wholesome, fun filled life with a bunch of craziness thrown in the mix.

You can find her here