My Heart, Your Home: Anxiety   

Wednesday, 23 January 2013


Being a Mum is single handedly the easiest and yet most difficult role in the world. As I sit down to write this, I am at my worst Mothering moment in my journey as a Mother. I am finding it difficult, more than difficult. I am finding myself to say, more often than not, in this last week that "I am not coping". The love, that part is the easy part. But the pressure is the hard part and I am really feeling the pressure. 

Some people are born Mothers, born with a maternal instinct. They fall into the role with such grace and ease and from the outside looking in, they are just perfect at it. Never have a bad moment, a not coping moment. When Evelyn was born, I thought I was born to be a Mother. It was easy. I loved her with all my might. Every little inch of me and my life became about her and her life. She was breathtakingly beautiful, she was gloriously behaved, she slept well and I was cruising through this life as a Mother. But since becoming pregnant for a second time, the pressure of maintaining that level of Mothering has cracked me. Broken me. 

I remember when Evelyn was 12 months old saying to Anthony, "I just cant ever imagine being angry at her, look at her, she is perfect". But then she learnt how to be naughty and I learnt how to be angry with her. Up until today I had never yelled at her. I have always kept my cool and with each moment that she misbehaved I would sit myself down and hold her by the arms and explain to her why that behaviour is not acceptable. She would hug me and she would kiss me. But today, I yelled at her and she just cried at me. And that cry didn't break me like it normally would. Infact, it infuriated me even more. And now as I sit locked in my bedroom trying to find my cool I feel guilty for being so angry with her. 

Being a Mum is the hardest job in the world. We are relied upon to teach our children right from wrong. Safety and danger. How to crawl, walk, talk, write, read. How to be polite and thankful. Grateful. Social etiquette. Correct speech. Please and thank you. How to eat, what to eat. How to be healthy, how to live healthy. Hygiene, routine, not to be mean. We are the ones who direct them to their futures and influence their beings and my god, that is overwhelming. 

In the last two weeks Evelyn has been testing me and my patience and with every moment that she acts out, with every tantrum my patience is wearing just that little bit more thin. Every time that I find myself grinding my teeth, or tearing up, I feel guilty. Because I am her Mother and I should be calming directing her to the correct path. I should be displaying the correct behaviour for her to learn from. I dont want her to learn that when it gets too hard, cry. But at the moment that is the behaviour I am teaching her, because when it gets too hard, I cry.

Evelyn has not been sleeping before 10pm for the last two weeks. Sometimes staying awake until midnight. She has not be day napping. She has been tired and cranky and badly behaved. I started out calm and understanding. Trying to understand that she is just too tired to function correctly and that this bad behaviour is not truly her, but he exhaustion. But by the end of these two weeks, when I am sleep deprived, me deprived, I have wavered. I am unable to understand. Because my exhaustion is now creating my own bad behaviour. We are two girls, exhausted and run down and now sick and we are not encouraging each other to be better people, we are not teaching each other patience or compassion. 

I feel like I have not had even 5 minutes to myself to be able to recoup. My showers are shared with her. My bed time is stolen by her. My food is thrown by her and my quiet time is interrupted by her. We both need a break and yet we cannot seem to find one. I find it too hard to leave her, I literally cannot leave the house with out her and when I do try, I cry and wonder "where on earth am I to go?". I need to find my centre again because without my centre I am making bad decisions. 

Two nights ago, Evelyn was screaming in my arms as I tried to comfort her to sleep. She had been screaming in my arms like this for 3 hours, on and off. It got to the point where every nerve ending in my body was screaming with her. I ached. I was sweating. I was crying. Every fibre of my body was suffering with anxiety. I just could not hear her scream any longer. And so I put her in her cot and I walked away. I walked outside and I told Anthony that I literally could not hear it anymore and then I got into my car and I drove away. As the rain poured down so did my tears. I felt like I had failed. I had given up. But my body just would not allow another moment of it. 

Today, the water to our suburb has been turned off. As I was outside trying to work out what had happened to the water, Evelyn decided to bring dirt inside and put it on my lounge and then pour her glass of water of the top and then start rubbing. My bird was going crazy, squawking with no relief for an hour. I was beginning to break down, I could feel that anxiety taking over my body. I am came inside to find the dirty mess and I snapped. I yelled, I really yelled at Evelyn and she just stopped and stared and then cried like Ive never seen her cry before. I stormed outside to release the bird, but stopping myself at his cage before it was too late and decided to just yell at him too. I then picked Evelyn up and strapped her into the car and I drove with the music up and the windows down, so as not to hear the screaming. 

I am waking in the middle of the night in the middle of the night in full blown panic attacks. I cannot breathe. My body aches with anger. I am tired. I am exhausted. I am failing and I feel more and more miserable every time I see how much I am letting everyone down. I have tried talking to my midwives and my Obs about my anxiety levels but I am not being heard. It is hard enough saying it once, but to have to push my concerns is just impossible.

I am not coping. I am failing. The loving Evelyn is easy. The forgiving her is easy. The getting up and starting again is easy. Its the pressure of it all. The expectations. The need to succeed. The fear of failing. Its watching yourself fall apart over a little bit of screaming, or some dirt and knowing that you are letting them down. Its the inability to be what she needs from me at all times, because at some times, I need to have a tantrum too. And I have. This week I have tantrumed. I have cried. I have fallen apart. I have let my family down with my inability to hold myself up. And its hard. Its really bloody hard to have to admit that you are not Super Woman, not Super Mum. You cannot be everything, all the time. Its really hard to admit that anxiety is taking a hold of me. 

But every now and then I think we, as Mothers, need to take a step back and accept that we cant be everything. Let the pressure go. Loosen the expectations. I might be failing this week. I might have failed today. But tomorrow I will get back up and I will try again and I will hope that tomorrow I wont fail. Tomorrow I will make a difference. I hope...

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