Ryan Shepard
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February 6, 2024
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A Real Mom's Guide to Dealing with Anxiety

Let's dive into some real talk – life, anxiety, and the wild ride of motherhood, which comes with its own set of unique challenges. Imagine it: an unexpected guest questioning everything from nap schedules to whether we've nailed this "adulting" thing. So, grab your cup of coffee (or tea, or a glass of wine – zero judgment here), and let's navigate this beautiful chaos together.

Quick backstory, y'all – I've been in therapy since I was 22, got diagnosed with OCD at 25, and yes, I've got that prescription med life going on (shout out to Zoloft!) Now, let's chat about dealing with anxiety in this crazy life hustle, especially those sneaky types that can happen both during and after pregnancy.

Acceptance is the first step:

Anxiety, that unwelcome companion, just won't leave. Step one – admit it's there. It's okay to feel anxious; life's a wild ride with twists and turns. Worrying is part of the package. Also, as I'm learning, anxiety isn't inherently a bad thing. But, when there isn't any present danger and you can shake the feeling that something is just...wrong or something "bad" is going to happen, that's when anxiety becomes a disorder.

Sharing the load:

Ladies, we don't have to carry the world solo, and this goes double during pregnancy and postpartum. Lean on your support crew – partner, friend, or anyone who gets it. Sharing the load is a strength move. Asking for help? Totally badass. Also, let you medical care team in on how your feeling. If there any good, they'll listen to you and talk about what resources are available to you. YES you can take medication during your pregnancy. Advocate for yourself.

Embracing imperfection:

Let's drop the superhero act. We're not perfect, and that's cool, especially during pregnancy or while figuring out the ropes of new motherhood. Embrace the messiness of life. Life's unscripted, and every day's a lesson. Give yourself some grace.

Mindful moments:

In the chaos, find moments of stillness, and this becomes even more crucial with the whirlwind of emotions during and after pregnancy. No need for hour-long meditations (who's got time?). A deep breath, a pause – small acts of self-care work wonders. I'm a big fan of taking myself out to lunch or having a hot cup of coffee when the girls are both down for a nap.

Creating a routine, breaking the routine:

Routines save lives, but too much routine can amp up anxiety, a common player in the journey of motherhood. Balance is key – routines with room for spontaneity. The best moments happen when we break the daily grind.

Connecting with others:

Camaraderie is pure magic. Join a group – online or in person, specifically tailored for moms. Swap stories, share struggles, and know you're not alone. It's a sisterhood thing, and that support becomes vital in navigating the world of parenting.

Professional support:

When anxiety's playing too rough, it's okay to ask for help. Therapists are the superheroes here, especially for issues like perinatal and postpartum anxiety. Coping strategies and a safe space to spill feelings – game-changer.

Also, let's not forget that postpartum OCD is incredibly under-diagnosed. Symptoms may include intrusive, unwanted thoughts often centered around harm coming to the baby, excessive worry about cleanliness, and repetitive actions like handwashing or checking on the baby. Recognizing and addressing these symptoms is vital for a healthy postpartum journey.

Conclusion:

To all you phenomenal humans rocking this unpredictable ride, you're killing it. Anxiety doesn't define you, seeking help is strength. Take a deep breath, embrace the chaos, and remember – you're not alone in this rollercoaster.

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