The very fact that you worry about being a good mom means that you are one.
Our Friday night family adventure this week was drive through COVID testing after a possible exposure. Fun times. Not so much. They were all thankfully negative, but I had a moment there where I looked around and most definitely did not recognize my life. There have been other moments like this throughout my life, but the bulk of them have occurred over the last year during this ongoing pandemic.
In the past, it was usually during times of transition when I didn’t always recognize my life: moving, changing schools, career changes, getting married, having children, etc. But, the seemingly small, everyday things generally stayed the same. These transitions usually brought heightened emotions with them as they were tied to the new situation, and they usually went away once life regained some semblance of normalcy.
Now, well now life’s pretty boring (but safe), and weekdays and weekends are all quite similar in nature. But, the days are not without heightened emotions, including anxiety, depression and grief. Many of these we are feeling collectively as moms. So, if you are struggling right now, know that you’re not alone in how you’re currently feeling and what you’re currently experiencing. You are not on an island by yourself, but are surrounded by other moms, both near and far, who are feeling just as you are today.
As it can help to put a name to how you’re feeling internally, here are some symptoms of anxiety, depression and grief to look out for in your life (and in the lives of those you love):
Some of your anxiety symptoms may include excessive worry about your future (and what may happen), having too many constant thoughts running through your head at the same time (that you would like to shut off but cannot seem to stop), and feeling like you are being overwhelmed by stress (so much so that at times it may feel hard to breathe). When you’re experiencing heightened anxiety, you may be feeling more irritated, angry, frustrated, restless and/or agitated than normal as well. If you’re a pregnant or postpartum mom, your anxiety symptoms may also include intrusive thoughts.
Some symptoms of depression you may be experiencing can include depressed mood, sleep changes (sleeping more or less than usual), loss of interest in things you usually enjoy, feelings of guilt, decreased energy, loss of concentration, increase/decrease of appetite, restlessness/agitation, and suicidal thoughts. If you’re a pregnant or postpartum mom, your depression symptoms may also present as frequent crying spells, hopelessness, anger, agitation, irritability and/or frustration.
Some of the grief symptoms you may currently be experiencing can include feeling shocked and angry about what happened, feeling numb and disconnected from the people and world around you, and feeling exhausted just going through the motions of your day, like you are slowly moving through a thick, dense fog. You may also feel overcome with sadness to the point where you do not want to get out of bed and face the day in front of you, feel an aching pain throughout your entire body, and feel anxious about your future and where to go from here.
You don’t have to feel isolated and alone. If any of the above symptoms resonate with you, please consider reaching out to a therapist in your state who specializes in anxiety, depression and/or grief. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can start to feel better and more like yourself again!