Stress, anxiety and motherhood

Mental health break, long walk and some fresh air in the local park
Making the most of this beautiful summer and the fresh air, two of my favourite natural healers xxx

I’ve been MIA for a few weeks due to some health issues but hopefully I’m back now and will be able to commit to blogging as often as I want rather than when my health permits. I really want to share with you all what’s been happening and some of my epiphanies over the last couple of weeks.

So for a few weeks now I’ve been coming out with some extreme hives, they start slowly and quickly spread all over my body. They started on my arms and legs but then began to appear on my stomach and back. Initially they appeared on my face, around my chin, neck and forehead but in the last three weeks they have come up around my mouth and inside my lips. Last weekend after dinner my voice started to go and a while later I started to have some breathing issues which felt like one side of my throat was closing up. Initially I thought it was just a dry ticklie cough and drank some water, but quite quickly I started gasping for breath. My husband called 111 who sent an ambulance and I was taken away to the hospital.

Prior to all this I had been to the Drs a few times to have my hives and allergies checked out, they had sent me for a blood test and everything came back normal. But during these visits my Dr had asked me how I was feeling and if I was stressed or anxious about anything. Every time someone has asked me this question in the last two years, I’ve just laughed it off. I have a really supportive husband, I’m really close to my family and I have the bestest friends, who I’m always over sharing my life with. I didn’t think for a second that I could be stressed or have any anxiety issues.

As the ambulance was pulling away to take me to the hospital, I could hear Aasiya screaming outside. I actually asked the paramedics if I could just not go as I was starting to feel better! It was 9pm, the kids should have been asleep and I didn’t think Jay would be able to cope with them alone. They told me to remain calm and not worry, my husband had this under control, to which I listed a hundred things that might go wrong without me there. My heart rate was elevated, my palms sweating and that’s when I realised maybe there was something to this stress and anxiety thing, maybe I was taking on more than I could cope with.

Almost every mum I know takes on the bulk of the childcare and running the home, which essentially amounts to two full time jobs! Looking after children is not easy, when I went back to work after having Aasiya my husband went part time so we wouldn’t have to put her in daycare, and after those 6 months of being at home for 2 days a week he finally realised how much work and effort it took raising a child. He actually said going to work felt like a holiday in comparison to being at home with Aasiya as he was always on alert and he was always doing something: preparing, cleaning, cooking, playing, changing, bathing, reading… the list is endless! There’s no moment when you can just sit down, tune out and have a cup of tea, especially when you have two under 2’s.

I know I’ve been taking on more than I can manage and not getting enough “break” time to compensate. So although Jay offers to give the kids a bath when he gets in, or cook dinner, or put them to bed, usually I always end up doing everything as I know I do it better and 3 times faster than him! Even when he changes nappies I’m hovering over him checking that the dozen wipes he’s used have actually cleaned rather than just protected him from pee-showers. I’m beginning to learn that it’s not about who does it better and it certainly isn’t the end of the world if something doesn’t get done, the most important thing about parenting is actually being there, and that means taking your health, including your mental heath seriously.

I’m not going to attempt to make any drastic changes to my life as I know I won’t be able to keep up with them, but I do want to do small things to help me rebalance my priorities. I’m going to try and do yoga at home 3 times a week and I’m jointing a reading group. I’ve also asked my husband for a few hours over the weekend so I can concentrate on my writing while he takes the babies. These are only small changes to my routine but I really think, if I can stick to them, they will make a big difference. I know my husband is great with our kids and I just have to let him do things his way, which isn’t as good as my way, but must be ok(ish) as he isn’t the one being told to breath into a bag when things get too much!

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