The monster bared its teeth now and again as I grew up. The claws came out when I got married. And it finally reared its head when I had children.
One day in the early months of pregnancy, I sat at my work computer crying my eyes out. Why? In my eagerness to learn and search everything pregnancy, I somehow happened upon a mother’s account of a terrible (extremely rare) defect found in utero. I understood that statistically, the chances my baby would ever have this same defect were close to zero. But there I sat, feeling the worry monster sharpening its claws.
Since that day, it seems my worry monster can overtake my brain in mere seconds. My long suffering husband has had to field a million of my worry questions:
Does that red splotch look normal? Do you think it’s too hot in her room? Let’s go check on him one more time, he might not be breathing.
My worries often keep my thoughts whirling. And the internet has officially made me lose my mind.
It is not uncommon for my husband to find me crying at my laptop. “Stop reading awful stories online!”, he chastises.
It seems there is an endless supply of blogs detailing the horror of freak accidents, awful diseases, unmanageable behaviors, evil predators, and a million death traps from which to protect our children. For a person like me, who is unable to read a story and move on, the internet is a black hole of worry sucking me in until I implode. I start worrying about my children, then my friends’ children…then ALL the children!
So what is a mom like me supposed to do?
All moms worry, it comes with the job. But if your worry monster has completely overtaken your life and is significantly impairing your ability to function, PLEASE speak with your doctor. Therapy and medication are wonderful tools in wrangling the worry.
Whenever I find myself scrolling through Facebook and seeing a link titled “5 Ways Your Toddler Will Die Right in Front of Your Eyes and There’s Nothing You Can Do!!!!” I am aware the click-bait is at work. But I still find myself hovering over the link. I’ve taught myself to stop reading the articles that feed my worry monster.
Whenever I find myself reading something that quickly turns into a worry, I talk it out with my husband or my fellow moms. Talking your worries out can help you realize the reality instead of just the worry.
We moms are expert ring masters. We must control the chaos and so we become experts at control. Believing I can control all factors is what feeds my worry monster. “If I can just account for every danger, mitigate it, then my child will live forever!!” Letting go is a daily exercise and there are various ways to help you do it – for me, it is boatloads of prayer. For others, it’s yoga or meditation. Explore what helps you let go and practice it every day!
Worry is truly a monster that can wreak havoc on our lives. Some days I am able to tame the monster better than others. What has helped you keep your worries in check?
Originally published in 2016.