Enjoy Them While They're Young
“Enjoy them while they’re young.” ... “They grow up so fast.”
Almost every time I took my kids out in public, especially when they were babies, some well-meaning older lady would tell me “Enjoy them while they’re young.” I would always respond with, “I will.” But inside, this caused me anxiety and unwarranted anger.
What that sweet lady didn’t know was the panic I was feeling, the postpartum anxiety that lasted for years. She didn’t know that it was everything I could do to muster up the nerve and the energy just to make a quick run to Target. That all I wanted to do was stay at home, but that also sometimes staying at home with my sweet babes was overwhelming, too. That sometimes I wanted to run away and escape the land of diapers and constant crying and feelings of suffocation, exhaustion, and unworthiness.
You see, what might look tender and cute on the outside may be a very different story inside. You never know what someone else is going through.
After coming out on the other side of darkness (although don’t get me wrong, I still have moments of anxiety and parenting “fails”), I vowed never to assume someone had it easier or better than me. I’ll never look at a new mom with an adorable infant and wish that were me again. And I’ll certainly never tell her to enjoy every minute...because maybe she is, but maybe she can’t.
I think about how offended and sad I would’ve been if my parents had told me as a teenager, “I wish you were little again.” So I vowed to embrace my kids at whatever stage they’re in because every age has its good and bad points. I won’t put pressure on them to be anything other than they are.
And for all of you moms experiencing anxiety and internal turmoil, be gentle with yourself. I see you. You’re doing just fine.
The above are words from a recent social media post. My intention was to share a little about my anxiety, but it turned into so much more.
I heard from women of all ages ... those who were newish moms and those with adult children. As one friend so eloquently stated, "I do think our memory tends to filter out the exhaustion, sleepless nights, et cetera and instead focuses on the sweet and tender moments, the good times when you are the center of their world."
I think it's true that there is such a thing as "photo album memory." I also think sometimes it's easy to miss the good in the present time when you're also suffering from mental or emotional turmoil. Postpartum anxiety ... and anxiety of any kind ... can be debilitating. It's important to know it's a real thing, and there's no shame in seeking treatment or therapy if that's needed.
If I can help you in any way ... I am here to listen, correspond, or pray for you. Just drop me line and let me know how I can serve you.