Are you a mom facing anxiety? Does raising your child cause your heart to beat faster? Many moms experience anxiety as we seek to protect and care for our children. As a special-needs mom, I am not immune to this rollercoaster called motherhood.
My son, Samuel, had a radical ear surgery called Canal Wall Down in early April. The procedure removed a growth called a Cholesteatoma. Cholesteatoma Defined. My anxiety before this four-hour surgery impacted my immune system causing me to catch a cold.
“… Many studies show that stress can impact different facets of the immune system. Some suggest that stress slows recovery from illness or makes us more likely to catch colds.” Immune System and Stress Article
My normal coping mechanisms did not help me avoid a cold. However, watching one video did help me refocus as my son recovered. The video is a Ted Talk given by a world champion free diver named Guillaume Nery called The Exhilarating Peace of Freediving. He describes the fascinating experience of free diving. Mr. Nery said something which changed my perspective.
As he ascended from his record breaking free dive, he said he couldn’t think about reaching the top to breathe. He had to stay focused where he was in the ascent. When I heard him say that, I concluded, “So I have to stay in the moment and not focus getting to the top.” And then I thought, “Besides, God is already there.”
Guillaume Nery’s Ted Talk (Turn on subtitles.)
Whenever I found myself worrying or obsessing over the what if’s, I remembered Guillaume’s example.
Live in the moment. Don’t get ahead of myself.
This visual helped me to calm down.
Opportunities To Be Anxious
Did this visual help me every time I stressed? I’d like to say, “Yes.” Funny thing about stress is I believe it inhibits amnesia. So, on day 3 after surgery when my son’s tooth broke, I imagined all sorts of negative scenarios whipping myself into a mental frenzy. How bad is the tooth? Will Samuel need to be sedated to extract the tooth? If so, will that mean we will have to go to the hospital? I had completely forgotten the diver’s analogy. Breathe. Live in the moment. Don’t be anxious. Rest.
It turns out the tooth was a baby molar and the dentist easily removed the remainder of the tooth. Dr. Sierra, who is an amazing dentist, by the way, said Samuel looked like a bear who just had a splinter taken out of his paw. He even opened his mouth wider as if to say, “You sure you got it all?”
All my anxiety in those moments before we saw the dentist were for naught. None of my fears came true. I did not need to stress but instead should have chosen to live in the moment and trust God. Though I did not pass this test; another opportunity to conquer fear and stress would come soon enough.Breathe. Live in the moment. Don’t be anxious. Rest. Click To Tweet
After taking Samuel to have his ear packing removed from his left ear, we headed to his pediatrician’s office. She ordered a chest x-ray. When she entered the exam room to share the results, the look on her face alerted me before she said a word. I silently prayed while she collected her thoughts. The came her report, “Now, mom, don’t freak out.” Uh, okay. There is a reason she said this first, and I am glad she did. It calmed me for what would come next.
“Your son has a mild pneumonia.”
I hung my heart on the word, “mild.” She went on to share the plan to treat with steroids and antibiotics. I clung to her promise that Samuel would feel better soon. I breathed a sigh of relief as I left with prescriptions in hand and a gratefulness to be taking my son home. For the next 24–48 hours, I lived in the moment. With each passing hour, Samuel got better, and within a week his happy, giggling, laughing personality had returned full force.
Don’t Worry About Anything
As April fades into the past and the hope of May is in front of me, I will take with me the image of the diver. Live in the moment. Don’t focus on arriving but be present. And give God all my anxiety and stress.
What visuals or coping mechanisms help you overcome the stress of motherhood? Share your wisdom below. You never know who you’ll be helping.