I was speaking with a group of expectant parents over the weekend and asked them to describe childbirth in one word. One of the fathers-to-be said “worrisome”. Later in the day, I asked him if he could delve a bit deeper into what he meant. When we got to the core of his word…it was really fear of the things he couldn’t control. As a group, we continued to discuss this topic…this lack of control…as it applied to childbirth but also to parenting and life in general. I shared this story with the group and I will now share it with you.
My family and I attended one of the local March for Our Lives rallies. It was equally empowering as it was anxiety-ridden for me. I am a Mom who suffered (who am I kidding…who will forever suffer on some level or another) from Postpartum Anxiety. When I woke up Saturday morning I prayed for courage and strength just to get out the door. Then I dug deep to find the inner motivation that would force myself to take part in this conversation that brings out severe anxiety for myself and so many other parents. The conversation that forces us to go where, every other day, we fight to stay away from. The morning prayer you say, when you drop your kid off at school, that it will not be the last time you get to kiss their little face, hug their little body and see their beautiful, innocent smile.
What I realized at this rally is that the fear we have as parents is paralleled by the students themselves… the ones whose lives are actually on the line here. And this topic…this fear of not being in control that started the conversation in my group…was not just for childbirth…or for parenting…but for life in general. We cannot give power to that which we cannot control.
So, for those of you living in fear…whether you’re expecting your first child and are trying to wrap your head around all the things that could potentially happen just bringing a new life into the world, whether you’re a parent trying to stay one step ahead of danger to keep your children safe, or a young person trying to get through the already trying pre-teen and teenage years with your body and mind intact, a grandparent trying to figure out how to best support your own children as they raise their babies in this unpredictable climate or you are somewhere in between…here is my advice to you…my words to live by…
LET IT GO.
Simple but not easy. Short but not sweet. LET IT GO.
When fear starts to take hold, anxiety’s grip starts to tighten, ask yourself one question…is there any part of this that I can control. If the answer is YES, do what you can to move towards a favorable outcome. If the answer is No…LET IT GO. Release the fear. Evict the anxiety. Put your energy towards the present moment and all of the amazing love, light and hope that exists in it. DO NOT allow yourself to miss out on life because you are too afraid to live it. Just LET IT GO.
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