How Does Your Heart Feel? A Mother’s Anxious Heart.

One of my favorite books to read with my daughter is “In My Heart: A Book of Feelings” by Jo Witeck. Through metaphors and similes a little girl identifies feelings and emotions such as happiness, sadness, and fear. For the last 18 months, this is how my heart has felt nearly every day…

Fear

Heart-pounding, sweaty, tingly, throat closing.

Constantly feeling that something dreadful is looming just around the corner. Fear that something could happen and my kids could lose one or both of their parents. Fear of losing one of my sweet children to something that I should have seen coming. Fear that I wouldn’t be able to protect them if they were in danger.

Guilt

Stomach turning, light-headed, numbness.

Guilt, that my 3-year-old held MY face in her hands as I’m crying saying, “Mommy, its going to be okay.” Guilt, that I have few clear memories over the last year and a half. Guilt, that I’m not fully present for my beautiful children and amazing husband. Guilt, that my husband often gets the “leftovers” of my patience, affection, and energy.

Anger

Jaw clenching, hot, loud.

I am angry that anxiety has taken memories, experiences, laughter and peace away from my life. I am angry that my mind tricks my body into thinking something is wrong. I am angry that I had to wait 6 weeks to graduate from the baby-blues to a real diagnosis of post-partum anxiety and depression. I am angry that insurance doesn’t cover the help that I need. I am angry that more women aren’t supported through their journey.

Love

Waves of warmth, heart exploding, all encompassing.

Thinking about how much I love my family puts me into a full panic. I need my family to know, feel and remember my love for them, just in case. This love makes me write letters, just in case. This love makes me take pictures and videos, just in case. This love makes me back up my phone, just in case. This love keeps me from leaving the house, just in case.

The face of anxiety | You would never know what’s going on under the surface

Clearly, I’m still pretty deep in my mental health journey. If you’re deep in it too, I wish I had a magic solution for you. However, here are some things I do know… I know that there are amazing professionals out there that can help you, like they help me. I know that we are not alone in our feelings. I know that your partner desperately wants to help you, they may not know how. I know that your kids love you and that YOU are the perfect mom for them. I know that there are people in your life that may not know you’re struggling- tell them. I know that I will be okay, and you will too.


What are some strategies you use to give yourself a break from your anxiety or depression?


Rachael lives in Colorado with her husband, two kids and rescue pup. She loves to read, play outside and still doesn’t know what she wants to be when she grows up. You can follow her on Instagram at well_loved_books. Check out her blog, welllovedbooks.com for more of her reflections on children’s books and how they relate to parenting and life.

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