Expectation and reality are not always on the same page. How often do we romanticize our current or future roles, only to realize that things are not what we perceived them to be?
There is nothing wrong with
wanting to be the best at something,
but do not fall into the trap of
making an idea into an idol.
When I was still pregnant, I had this vision of becoming a super mom after my baby was born, but my goals quickly switched from “super” to straight up survival mode!
As I have mentioned in my previous posts, those first few weeks were incredibly challenging as I transitioned into the role of “mom.” There are so many changes thrown at you at once—physically, mentally, emotionally—that you don’t have time to even stop and process because you have a tiny human whose life literally depends on you!
When I look back at that time,
one of the hardest hurdles that
I did not see coming was anxiety.
Sure, I had felt anxious before (e.g. during school or at work), but the anxiety that I felt after having my baby was a completely different kind of anxiety—it felt more sinister.
Initially the anxiety stemmed from worry that I wasn’t producing enough milk to feed my baby. Then there was anxiety that she was not feeding enough from me, which was followed by worry about her sleeping more than an hour at a time at night.
My mind was constantly racing,
ranging from anxiousness about giving a bath,
to how to be a hostess to guests,
to taking my baby out in public during flu season.
The lists were endless, but the worst anxiety were the ones that had no etiology. I would literally be sitting at the breakfast table, just doing a normal activity like eating or sitting and talking to someone, or I would be trying to take a shower, and then I would feel this inexplicable anxiety wrap itself tightly around me. It felt like something was squeezing my heart, trying to suffocate me. It felt truly horrible and threatened to suck all the joy out of my life.
From this anxiety there was also
a development of paranoia.
When my baby cried, I knew she needed something—whether it was to be fed, to be burped, or to be changed, but when other people asked me why the baby was crying or if the baby was still hungry, I started to feel paranoid that they were actually insinuating that I was a neglectful mom. Even when my own family tried to relieve me of the baby, especially when she was crying, I perceived it as a personal attack—that they didn’t trust me to take care of the baby. However, in reality, it was an offer to give me a break and some much needed rest. In my mind I questioned every facial expression, word, and action.
As physically exhausted as I was from the sleep deprivation, I knew my psyche couldn’t handle the back and forth with anxiety and paranoia. Ultimately, I had to face them for what they really were: lies. Then I knew that the only way to combat the incessant lies was with the truth—the Word of God.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7
Every time I had an anxious or paranoid thought,
I had to pray and hand it over to God.
At first, I had to do it every hour on the hour, because that is how prevalent and crippling the anxiety had become. As I continued to plead to the Lord, the anxiety decreased in frequency. While the paranoia left soon after, the anxiety would continue to come in sporadically. Even now, I will occasionally feel that anxiety for no reason whatsoever, but as soon as I identify it for what it really is and ask God to remove it from me, I feel His peace warm me like a hug.
I’m sure some of the emotional and mental issues post-partum is because of the hormonal and physical changes, but I really wonder if there are unseen demonic forces at play, trying to infiltrate homes and families, trying to bring division between us and God when we may be at our most vulnerable. I have said this before many times, but the older I get, the more I realize that we desperately need God.
Yes, we need Him during
pivotal moments in our lives,
but we also need Him in the
day to day mundane moments.
The Lord is Jehovah Jireh, and He will forever be our Provider. Don’t ever forget that!