Yes, I’ve been writing a book. For quite some time now. 4 years, on and off, to be exact.
Most of my friends and family know this by now, as well as those I’m connected to on Social Media sites like Facebook, Pinterest, & Twitter. I’ve had several inquiries about where to purchase the book (It’s not published yet, but will be by year’s end). And, many people have asked what it’s about. Those who know me as the “Postpartum expert” ask, “Is it about postpartum depression?” Those who know me from my website ask, “Is it a self-help book? Is it about grief?” Those who know me as a parent and parenting educator ask, “Is it a parenting or motherhood book?” And those who really know me ask, “Are you writing your story?”
The answer to all of these is, “Yes.”
This is How We Grow© is a memoir about the four years, or seasons, after my sister and brother-in-law died, we inherited our two nephews, and went from 3 to 6 kids. It has themes of pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, yes. It’s definitely deals with grief and loss and how the entire family gets through. It’s about motherhood and parenting, and family relationships. But really it’s about choosing to grow through whatever life hands us. The best way I know how to sum up the book is this quote, from Part 1: “When life throws you in the mud, plant yourself and GROW.”
This is How We Grow© Summer Book Club
The good news is you no longer have to take my word for it. A few months ago, I started sharing portions of This is How We Grow with select book clubs, to receive feedback and editing suggestions. It’s been incredibly helpful. Now, I’m going to do the same with you.
This summer, I will be posting one chapter of the book every other week, as part of the “This is How We Grow Summer Book Club”. I admit, it’s scary putting this out there before it’s all finished. But, I value the wisdom of my readers. I know your ideas can make it even better. I, therefore, welcome your comments and suggestions to help me improve the book, as well as your impressions and questions.
Join the Club!
So, join my “This is How We Grow Summer Book Club.” Sign up for my email list, below, for special This is How We Grow opportunities, like a sneak peak of extra chapters, the book cover, and subtitle (still working on these), and for updates on publication and events.
Please tell your friends to join us too! Then, read away, leave comments, and check back every other week for a new chapter! Oh, and please “Like” my Facebook page for quotes, discussion, and This is How We Grow inspiration!
Let’s Get Started: Prologue
To kick us off, please enjoy this preview of the title page and prologue. It may be short, but hopefully it’s enough to keep you coming back for more!
Christina G. Hibbert, Psy.D.
There is a great, cosmic ebb and flow—energy pouring calmly, powerfully through all—
prompting change, nudging growth. Telling us we cannot stay as we are.
Telling us we must become.
“She’s dead, isn’t she?” I asked, not feeling the words. My body was already erecting the wall that would hold back so many emotions for so many months. “Just tell me,” I pressed him, still holding the glimmer of hope that I was wrong.
Hesitation. Hesitation was a confirmation in itself. He is my OJ–my husband, my most steady supporter, my best friend. He didn’t want to drop this bomb. The moment before the truth comes out is so full of possibility; yet it was already determined.
“Yes,” he said. “She died.”
What do I say? When time stops and everything changes, what can possibly be said?
“Do you realize we just inherited two kids?” Half angry, half in shock, I laughed. My sister just died and I laughed.
OK. Let me have it. Just kidding. I would love your thoughts so far, though. So, share by leaving a comment, below. If you’re not ready to share yet, then keep joining us! I’ll be looking for your comments down the road!
Below are some of my posts inspired by the book–more snippets to get us to the first week of June, when I will be posting Chapter 1! Happy summer reading!
This is How We Grow: Related Posts
SUBSCRIBE, below, and please “Like” my Facebook page, for updates and inspiration on the topics that interest you most!Read More
Some time back in graduate school I realized that if I don’t ask for help when I need it, it might never come. Like so many women, I’d spent the first several years of my marriage expecting my husband, OJ (no, not Simpson), to just “see” what I needed, wanting him to “notice on his own,” feeling that if I had to actually tell him what was wrong then he obviously didn’t love me well enough. Sound familiar?
We’ve all seen this before, whether in a friend, on TV or in our own relationships. But friends, I hate to break it to you—if you don’t ask for what you need you can’t expect to receive it. It’s a lesson old as scripture, “Ask and ye shall receive” (John 16:24). Yet how often do we forget to ask, standing like fools waiting endlessly for a thing that will never come. Instead, try letting go of your expectations and pride and asking. Asking is, after all, the key to receiving.
How to Get Your Needs Met: 4 Tips
1) Before you can ask for what you need, you have to know what you need.
Often we don’t ask because we simply don’t know. Taking stock of our needs on a regular basis is a good idea for overall well-being in all realms: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. The sooner we recognize a need and fill it, the easier life becomes; we end up preventing the bigger problems that arise when needs pile up over time. Thus, examining your needs is an important tool, and the first step of asking for them to be met.
2) Once you know what you need to ask for, state it clearly.
Too often we know what we need but fail in our attempt to communicate it. We beat around the bush, mince words, or hint at what we need, again hoping the other person will just “get it” and take care of things. But people are not mind readers, and most of the time others just aren’t good at filling in the blanks. Stating clearly what you need is crucial to actually getting it. The more specific you are, the better. Don’t just say, “Honey, I need a nap sometime, maybe.” Say, “Honey, I need a nap, so if I go in my room now for an hour would you please watch the kids and actually play with them and guard the door so they won’t wake me up?” with a smile of course. (Obviously I have personal experience with this one). Be clear. Be direct. Be willing to ask for exactly what you need.
3) Ask the right person.
Not everyone is equipped to give you exactly what you need. If you need help with childcare, ask someone who loves your child; if you need help with housework, ask someone who knows how to make a bed. If you need someone to just listen, ask someone who can let you be the focus of the conversation for a while. Just because one person isn’t able to provide what you need doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking. Keep asking until you find the one willing and able to serve you best. Also, don’t be afraid of “putting them out” or “burdening them”. Just as it is your responsibility to take care of what you need, they are responsible for their needs and can say no if they choose. As one of my favorite wise men once said, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.” Allowing others to meet our needs blesses them with the opportunity to serve and grow too. It’s a win-win situation.
4) And finally: Don’t forget to ask your Higher Power.
Connecting to the Source that knows and understands your needs better than anyone is the surest way to receive what you need. Sometimes it comes as a change in how you feel or in a whisper that lets you know you’re not alone and that you are loved. Sometimes it’s a sudden knowing–that light-bulb moment of what you must do, or the motivation, perhaps, to actually do it. It may come in the form of a dream, a song, or a piece of art that speaks to your soul. Or it may be a feeling of peace that sweeps over you, a quiet sense that everything will be ok. The act of asking is an act of faith, and, faith is the beginning of all things that come into being.
Ask and Receive
You’ll be amazed how easily your needs can be met if you simply ask. Get clear on what you need. Seek out the person to best help you fill that need. Seek the Divine. And ask. Then, stand, ready to receive.
 Hinkley, G. (1979). The Abundant Life. Tambuli, June, vol. 3.
Why does Mother’s Day always make me think of all I’m not doing right as a Mother? Every year I try to avoid it, but I can’t escape. The images of crafty, fulfilled, do-it-all moms who are (seemingly) perfect, fill the world, and at first, I love it. I love glorying in this role that I truly find life-altering, holy, and divine–being “Mom.”
But at some point I start comparing to those images. I see what I want (or wanted) to do and be, and feel I’m missing the mark. This week, for example, I had just returned from a days-long stay alone to work on my book and try to catch up on sleep. (It sounds heavenly, and it was–if you like writing for hours and hours). But one long drive, two kid-interrupted sleepless nights, four sick kids, and less than two days later, I was already burned out, and on the verge of losing it! “Really?” I chastised myself. “You can’t even handle your life after a major break? Weak.” Sometimes I’m not very nice.
The Irony of Mother’s Day
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that the very images and words meant to lift mothers up this time of year can have the opposite effect? The worst, for me, was about 8 years ago, when I had 3 kids. Caught in a contract with a group psychology practice, I was working far more hours than I’d planned. Add in work for my newly-founded Postpartum Wellness Coalition, and I felt like I was “doing it all.” That is, until Mother’s Day.
Sitting in church, listening to a lovely man speak of his angelic mother moved me. It inspired me to be like that. Then, it moved me to tears. Because I wasn’t like that. It hit me–wham!–like a wrecking ball, “You’re not being the mom you wanted to be.” I was truly wrecked. I cried for literally 8 hours strait! I couldn’t stop, so I shut myself away in my room all day, humiliated, defeated. I was only saved through a “Say-Anything”-esque rescue by my dear husband, OJ–standing on the stairs playing Coldplay’s “Fix You,” in the dark until I finally let him show me the love I felt I did not deserve.
And I’m not the only one. In the past few weeks alone I’ve heard stories from numbers of friends who fear they may be “failing” at motherhood. I asked, on my Facebook Page, if anyone was willing to share some of their “mommy fails,” and got some pretty honest responses:
- “All 3 of my babies rolling off the bed onto wood floors. You’d think I’d learn the first time!”
- “Calling my kids by the wrong name. I hated when my mom did that to me.”
- “Letting my mood swings get in the way. I wish I could have been more ‘stable’.”
- “My kids are little, but I’ve already cut nails so short they bleed, and both my girls have pulled chairs on themselves in the kitchen, leaving bruises. But the worst is when my daughter screamed and cried when her Grandma gave her a dress because she didn’t think the dress was pretty enough. Spoiled, much?”
- “I could write a whole chapter on my mommy fails!”
- “I was shopping with my 3 kids and it was great. Until the checkout. My 4 year-old started screaming for candy, but I was taking a stand. And I did it. We got all the way to the car, him screaming the whole way. As I was putting them in, an older woman came up and said, ‘I just want to tell you that you are doing a great job at being a mom. My daughter only has 2 kids and she is a mess, so keep up the good work.’ I said, ‘Thanks.’ Then I got in the car, and yelled to my son, ‘Shut up! Not another word ’til we get home!’ It could’ve been such a good ‘mom moment, and I had to go and ruin it.”
- “Growing up, I was pretty afraid of my mom, so I try to make sure my kids don’t feel that from me. One day, a few years back, I’d gone off my medication (I suffer from anxiety) to try and get pregnant. My kids were not cleaning their playroom like I asked and I lost it. The angry voice came out. I was throwing things and saying who knows what, and my 3 year old daughter is crying by now and she says to me, ‘mommy stop it you are scaring me.’ I had to walk out of the room. It didn’t matter anymore if it got cleaned. I felt horrible. But I know I’m not the only mom who feels like this. I’m just grateful my daughter called me out on how I was making her feel.”
3 Things Every Mother Needs to Know This Mother’s Day
1) You’re Not Alone. She’s right. She’s not the only mom who feels this way. In fact, we can relate, can’t we, to at least one of the scenarios above? We all have “mommy fails.” We all feel less than adequate from time to time. I see it with every mother I meet, whether they openly acknowledge their “failures” or try to hide them. It’s no secret we all make mistakes. It’s part of being a mother, and it’s ok.
2) You’re better than you realize. You’re not a failure. We see what’s wrong because we care. If we didn’t care it wouldn’t bother us if we yell or if our kids get hurt. The fact that it bothers us proves we love our kids. And when we can see this and then choose to learn from our “fails,” it proves we’re actually better at this mom thing than we may have thought. In fact, one of my Facebook friends decided to ask her daughter what her “mommy fails” were. She says, “I expected a heart wrenching conversation. I have at times completely lost it with my kids. Yelling, tears, the works. But her response was, ‘Oh that’s easy. When I was sick and made toast I asked you to watch it and you burned it black!’ I asked her, ‘That’s it? What about me yelling you and making you cry a few weeks ago?’ ‘Mom,’ she said, ‘that is just real stuff. It doesn’t make you a ‘fail.’ I have done that to you too, and I kinda like knowing your not some super hero and that you cry too. Besides everyone’s mom freaks out on them sometimes.” See, chances are, you’re doing better in your kids’ eyes than you realize.
3) You are enough. This one is important, so I’m going to say it again, “You are enough.” Being Mom is a daunting task, but you have what you need to do the job only you can do. You have enough love. You have enough wisdom. You have enough of what it takes. You are enough. Happy Mother’s Day, Moms.
How do you handle your “mommy fails?” Feel brave enough to share one with us? Leave a comment, below. I did.
Don’t miss a thing! SUBSCRIBE, below, and please “Like” my Facebook page for inspiration on the topics that interest you most!
 Huge thank you to Elizabeth, Diann, Jesica, Jana, and Holly, for sharing your “Mommy Fails” with us! You just proved how incredible you are as moms, owning up to your mistakes like that. Big hugs to you!Read More
Today, as part of the Postpartum Support International (PSI) Blog Hop 2013, I am happy to host a guest post by colleague and friend, Laura DiVenti. Laura has an incredible story of postpartum recovery, one she shared many times at our Arizona Postpartum Wellness Coalition educational events. Let me just say that when Laura talked about what she’s experienced, the room went silent and each ear tuned in, every time. I am honored to get to share just a little of Laura with you here. You’ll see what I mean when you read her words….
Does time heal all wounds? What I can certainly say about time is that time heals some of the wounds, for sure. However, it is what one does with this time that is critical. This is what makes a difference in healing. It has been 7 years since I had postpartum depression after the birth of my daughter. What I have done with my time between my pregnancy, the birth of my daughter, my loss and my redemption, up to this very day, has shaped me and will continue to do so for the rest of my life.
Having a child didn’t come easy for me and I had a very difficult pregnancy. From my thirteenth week of pregnancy until the end, I was on strict bed rest. I had a body that was falling apart because of my pregnancy and a mind that was slowly joining it. The anxiety was constant. The fear was overwhelming. Bleeding, early contractions, my daughter dropping low in my pelvis early, medications, non-stress tests, ultrasounds, shots, threats of being put into the hospital, that I wouldn’t carry to term. It was so overwhelming. The icing on the cake, however, was having a non-supportive husband. He worked long hours, anywhere from 12-15 hour days. He was an emotional void. Instead of helping calming my fears, he exacerbated them. The loneliness I felt in my pregnancy, a time of usual celebration and anticipation, was crushing. I silently hoped that with the birth of my daughter, much of the guilt, fear and anxiety would disintegrate. Little did I know my struggle was just beginning.
My daughter was born on a warm and sunny April day. As soon as she was born, the anxiety crept in. I was so overwhelmed with panic that I had a hard time sleeping. My lonely pregnancy turned into an even lonelier postpartum experience. I tried breastfeeding my daughter thinking I was doing the best thing for her, but I failed at it. I gave up breastfeeding with the guilt that I couldn’t even feed my own daughter. I was terrified this would ruin her life. I became a task master in caring for my daughter. Feed, diapers, sleep, feed, diapers, sleep. While she could sleep, I ceased to. Days were filled with panic over whether everything I was doing was going to ruin her life. Days were filled with caring for an infant alone with very little support from anyone, especially my husband. My joy was depleted. My will to survive was dwindling. Basic life functioning up to 10 weeks postpartum was so painful that I didn’t understand what the point was in going on. My husband had pulled himself so far away from me that one day he said he would leave me and sue me for full custody. I was an emotional wreck, unable to do anything without fear or guilt. I felt like I had lost control of everything. My husband turned from me when I needed him the most. I felt like I had lost myself. I came to a place where I truly thought everyone would just be better without me. I acted on this feeling on a bright, sunny day in June; 10 weeks after I had my daughter. The next thing I remember is waking up in a hospital that was an hour and half from my home. The first day there I couldn’t stop crying. The rest of the days, I fluctuated between numbness and fear. Ten days after I got out of the hospital, my husband asked me for a divorce. It was at that very moment that I officially lost everything. I lost my daughter, I lost my husband, I lost my home and I nearly lost myself. In my time of sickness, my husband finagled my daughter from me. In my time of utter weakness, he used my postpartum depression to legally take my daughter from me and gain physical custody of her, even though I posed absolutely no harm to her. It was the ultimate act of betrayal.
In the 7 years since my daughter was taken from me, I have fought hard to get her back. I moved from Illinois to Arizona to heal and work on getting my life back. Time moved my life forward as it always does. My postpartum depression was thankfully temporary, as it always is. When the clouds of suffering and depression lifted, I fully realized the scope of my situation. This was when I started to fight. I have fought to get my daughter back into my life. I have fought to break the stigma of postpartum depression. I have fought the shame that surrounded me after what happened. I found my now husband, who is my champion and ultimate support, something that I realized is so critical for women to have that are suffering from postpartum depression. I have been to court numerous times trying to fight for time with my daughter. My daughter and I have a bond that no one could ever break. She is the light in my life, the truest part of who I am and I absolutely adore her to no end. However, my ex-husband, in his ruthlessness and anger, tries to fight me and take precious time away from us seeing each other. Time with my daughter is the best time in my life. Time has passed so quickly in the past 7 years. I have loved, I have lost and I have been on the road to healing and redemption. My ultimate happiness would be to have my daughter by my side every day. However, this has not happened and perhaps it never will.
What has helped me heal and cope with the pain has been focusing my time on helping and supporting other women suffering from postpartum depression. I give back to these mothers what was not given to me. My hope is that someday the stigma of postpartum depression will be no more and women can get the help and support they need without shame. My wound, the loss of my daughter, is my gift. I live by the mantra I created to help myself and other mothers survive and thrive through postpartum depression, “Knowledge and support is powerful. Shame and isolation can destroy.” This has kept me sane and strong and ready to fight another day. All I wanted when I was sick was to know someone in this world who had been through the muck and the dark and survived and thrived. That would have given me hope when I had none. This is the reason I speak up now. I am the voice to those women. The one’s we don’t hear about because they are too ashamed to talk and their stories do not have happy endings. The ones who have lost almost everything and they can’t see a silver lining. They are my reason for talking and sharing. I am giving a voice to those women.
Time has healed some of my wounds, and no doubt, time has made me stronger. I have used that time to find my voice and my cause in life and this has helped me heal. I am honored to have the chance to help other women and I always hold out hope that time will bring my daughter back in my life again, right by my side. Take the time to heal, find your support, arm yourself with knowledge and find your voice again in order to let go of the shame. These factors were critical to my healing and I want all mothers suffering with postpartum depression to always remember that you are not alone and that with time, you will heal. I am living proof of that.
~Written By: Laura DiVenti, RN, BSN. Contact: email@example.com
May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
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If you need immediate help, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Hotline at
Read MoreIf you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:Postpartum Support International Warmline(English & Spanish)1-800-944-4PPD (4773)Don’t miss a thing! SUBSCRIBE, below, and please “Like” my Facebook page, for updates, inspiration, and discussion on the topics that interest you most!
It’s cliché, I know, but I certainly wasn’t expecting postpartum depression (PPD). Newly graduated from college and recently married, I couldn’t wait to start a family, to finally become a mother. It was something I’d wanted my entire life.
PPD Round 1
Fast-forward 9 months. I didn’t expect to be induced and deliver my first baby boy breach. He came out bottom first and had the most perfectly round, golden head. When I came home from the hospital, I didn’t expect sleep deprivation to make me feel so crazy, and I certainly didn’t expect a colicky newborn. I tried to turn to my doctor, but he was no help. My husband and I moved in and slept on the floor of my mom and dad’s living room for weeks while I just tried to figure out was wrong with me and what I could do to feel normal again. “Am I really the only one who feels like this?” I kept asking myself. It sure felt that way. I did feel normal again–thanks to lots more sleep and constant help from my parents and husband. Several months later, that is.
PPD Round 2
Fast forward 2 ½ years, and I didn’t expect to feel depressed again after the birth of my second boy. I loved my first so, and seeing him place a toy sword in his brother’s bassinet when we brought baby home made me love them both even more. Wasn’t that enough to keep me well? I had also prepared this time. I now knew that I’d had postpartum depression before, that sleep deprivation kicks my butt, so I created a postpartum plan: let others help me so I can sleep more and feel better. At first I thought I was better. But my dear husband kindly let me know that wasn’t the case, pointing out the words I’d written in my journal just two months in, “I wish I could run away. Not forever. Just long enough to feel like myself again.” I started graduate school when baby #2 was just 4 months old.
PPD Round 3
Fast forward four years and I had just graduated with my doctorate in psychology. Precisely 7 days after I graduated, in fact, I delivered our first baby girl. We moved 5 days later. Now I was a true “expert” on PPD. I’d done my dissertation on PPD and even produced a “Postpartum Couples” video. I was a volunteer for Postpartum Support International (PSI). I had resources, connections; I knew the leaders in the field, for goodness sake. But PPD doesn’t care about all that, and it hit me again, this time adding an extra dose of anxiety. Luckily, by now, I at least knew I wasn’t alone; I at least had support resources, and I used them wisely. I felt better much quicker this time.
PPD Round 4
But my fourth fast-forward was the hardest. Four years later and, just weeks before giving birth, my sister died suddenly and traumatically. I certainly didn’t expect that. My brother-in-law had died just 2 months prior of cancer, and we suddenly inherited our two nephews, our new sons. I gave birth to my second baby girl four weeks to the day that my sister died. I had three kids, and then I had six. Talk about postpartum depression! I can’t even say, to this day, exactly what I was even experiencing at that point, a bizarre and long-lasting mixture of shock, anger, sadness, anxiety, depression, and grief that required months of therapy, massage, support, and, yes, medication, to finally get me through. It’s too complicated to even touch on here. You’ll have to read about it in my book, This is How We Grow (coming end of 2013).
PPD 16 Years Later
Fast forward to now. A mom of six kids, my first baby boy is 16 ½ and my last baby girl is 5 ½. I know so much more than I knew back then—it almost makes me wish I could have the babies now instead. But then I wouldn’t know what I know. So, instead, I look back and think about what I’d tell those younger, postpartum “me’s.” What might make a difference in helping those me’s heal? Here are just a few things I’d like my postpartum self to know (and any other postpartum selves out there too):
1) You really aren’t alone. Having helped countless postpartum moms and dads over the years, it’s so clear now just how similar we all are, how hard it can be, and how alone we all feel. It’s tragic, really, to feel so alone when we’re all feeling the same way. Couldn’t we just feel alone together instead?
3) Feel what you feel. It really is the only way to get through PPD (and by PPD, I mean depression, anxiety, PTSD–all of it!). Don’t pretend you’re “fine” if you’re not. If it’s hard, say, “It’s hard!” Only in identifying what’s really happening can you begin to understand and work through it.
4) Getting well is top priority. The sooner you seek support and treatment, the sooner you’re on your way to feeling better. And it’s ok that other things slide while you focus on getting well. I call it Postpartum Survival Mode, and say, “Be where you are and give yourself a break.”
5) You may be wondering who you are now, and that’s ok. It’s part of becoming a mother. There’s no rush to figure it out. In time, you will know. And then you won’t know again. A mother’s understanding of who she is an ever-evolving process.
6) Solitude is good. Isolation is not good. Reach out to others. Support groups are great for this, or spending time with friends who have babies too. I never felt like I had support, yet it wasn’t until my third baby that I realized how I’d isolated myself before. Time alone is one thing. Isolating is another. Instead, with my third, I attended playgroups and girls’ night out. I never realized how much I needed it. I see it in my support group now too. The women who’ve become friends outside of group have help and support now. We need each other.
7) The fact that you feel like a terrible mom because you have PPD means you’re a wonderful mom. Oh, the guilt of PPD! It’s one of the hardest parts, isn’t it? But you must let it go. If it didn’t bother you that you have PPD, it would mean you didn’t care. But it does, and you do. That’s what matters.
8) Love matters most. Not how much you read to your baby or whether your toddler watches TV or whether you breast or bottle feed or whether you keep a tidy house, make organic meals, or bake your own bread. You may or may not do these things. What matters is that you hold and love that baby. And if you’re not feeling as much love as you wish you were, good news. Love is a practice. Focus on the good in your baby. Hug him. Snuggle her. Take care of her. The love will grow. Love is much simpler than we think.
9) If you feel like your baby is a burden, you’re not alone. The first time I left on my own, just for 15 minutes, to buy a binky from the store, I felt like I’d broken out of jail! I hated feeling like it was a burden being a mother. But, 16 years later, I can tell you: It is. It’s a huge burden. Especially if you love your kids. You’ll always have more work than you have hours to do it. You’ll always feel their hurts more than your own. It’s a burden to love someone so much. But, like any good burden, it’s really more of a blessing. It just takes practice to see and feel it.
10) Grief is part of motherhood, especially when you have a perinatal mood disorder. The only way to deal with grief is to feel it. It’s ok to grieve what you’ve lost while still appreciating what you have. It feels paradoxical, I know, but it’s ok.
11) PPD can make you more compassionate. Among other things. It’s one of the best gifts of having so much struggle—it makes you understand others and want to help them too. It helps you be a more compassionate partner, friend, and mother. PPD can open you up if you let it.
12) Actively practice gratitude; it’s one of the best things you can do. I don’t mean “positive affirmations.” Affirmations don’t work because you don’t believe them. Instead, search for the true little blessings that are right in front of you. I started a “little wonders” journal and wrote down every little magical moment I noticed: baby’s first smile, an unexpected moment of solitude, a good, solid nap. It helps you appreciate what’s right in front of you, and that’s one of the best tools to increase happiness. Period.
13) They actually grow up. Faster than you realize. Every parent says it later, but it’s true, and it’s important to remember when you’re feeling like you can’t wait for them to grow up. Some day you’ll be wishing they were tiny enough to just hold in your arms again. My oldest sons are full-fledged teenagers now and several inches taller than I am, and while they’ll put up with a hug from mom, it’s not the same as when they were little. I miss being able to cuddle them and so easily make everything all right.
14) You really will feel better. It doesn’t feel like it when you’re in it, but you will.
15) You can not only feel “better,” you can feel “better than better.” Great things are in store for you, but one thing at a time. “To everything there is a season,” the scripture says. This is your season to be a mother. Seasons always change, so enjoy the one you’re in. And when the time is right, flourish!
16) Motherhood is quite wonderful. It’s hard. Sometimes it’s really hard. The “job” of mothering (cooking, cleaning, changing diapers) can feel like drudgery. But it’s an honor to be a mother, even if it’s hard. Just remind yourself, “I can do hard things.” Say it as many times as you need to. It’s certainly helped me.
And one final bonus. Give yourself a big hug from me. Because I really do understand just how hard it is to be where you are. And I also know just how wonderful you’ll feel 16 years down the road.
Speak Up When You’re Down:
May is Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month
Join the PSI Blog hop!
Read this post for details, link up below, grab the badge code, and help us spread maternal mental health recovery and awareness!
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If you need immediate help, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Hotline at
1-800-273-TALK (8255).If you are looking for pregnancy or postpartum support and local resources, please call or email us:Postpartum Support International Warmline(English & Spanish)1-800-944-4PPD (4773)
What would you like postpartum moms (and dads) to know? Leave a comment, below!
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Powerful emotions can be scary. Grief, anger, sadness, pain, fear, can feel intense, overwhelming, and out of control. We fear feeling powerful emotions because we believe they will overtake us; we fear that once they are free, we may never be free of them again.
So, we ignore, distract ourselves from, and eventually box these emotions up and shove them deep down, like caged predators, in an effort to prevent the frightening consequences we envision if they were ever to escape. But, as a wise woman once said, “Just because your feelings are buried alive doesn’t mean that they die.”(1) In fact, the longer feelings are buried, the more they fester and grow, until they control us, stronger than ever.
Emotions are Simply Emotions
What are we really afraid of? Sure, they feel immense, but all emotions, however powerful as they may appear, are simply that—emotions. Like the clouds that float across the sky may appear threatening, the most they can do is rain or hail or snow for a little while. Emotions are the same. And in raining, hailing, snowing, the clouds lose their power. They literally dissipate. So it is with emotions. We fear their threatening appearance and run from the rain of feelings, but it is only through allowing the rains to fall that the darkness and threat eventually drains away and disappears. Feelings, once felt, don’t stay for long.
Instead of running from, ignoring, burying, or fearing emotions, we need to FEEL them. And by FEEL, I mean: Freely Experience Emotion with Love. It’s not easy, especially if you’re used to ignoring feelings, but this 3-Minute Therapy YouTube video, “How to Cope with Overwhelming Emotions” shows you how, so check it out. It’s well worth 3 minutes of your time.
FEEL to Heal
You don’t have to force it. Simply let yourself feel what is there. When anger comes, feel angry. If fear has you in its grips, really focus on feeling that fear. When sadness weighs like a boulder on your heart, feel sad. Cry. Scream. Hear yourself say you may never get up again. Feel it. Then, love yourself. Be kind. Compassionate. Take care of yourself. And the pressure will loosen, just a bit. The chest will inhale just a little easier.
Only after you FEEL will you begin to heal. As you sit with your emotions, feel them, and love yourself through, you take the control back. The emotions no longer remain stuck and festering, but begin to unfasten themselves from being a part of you. And it is only then that you will see, they never really were.
How do you cope with powerful emotions? Have you tried to FEEL them? Leave a comment, below, and let us know!
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Related Posts/ Articles
(1) Iyanla Vanzant, Oprah’s Lifeclass.Read More
An Invitation to YOU!
Postpartum Support International’s 2013
First Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop!
Theme: Recovery and Coping Skills
I have been affiliated with Postpartum Support International (PSI) since 2000. A fabulous organization that provides support and resources for new mothers and fathers, PSI also serves families through quality education and conferences, advocacy, and through their website, warmline, and trained support coordinators throughout the world. I’m thrilled, therefore, that they’ve asked me to participate in their first Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month Blog Hop! I’ll be posting a few of my own experiences and thoughts, and I’ll also be serving as a “hub” where others can “link up” and post theirs (see link, below).
It should be a fabulous month full of celebrating motherhood and raising awareness, so I hope you’ll join us, either by submitting a post or sharing those submitted! Happy Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month! (See the invitation from PSI, below, and leave me a COMMENT, below, if you have additional questions). ~Christina Hibbert
Please Join Us!
In May 2011 Postpartum Support International (PSI), declared May as Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month. An increasing number of states and counties have designated May as a time to bring awareness to maternal mental health. This year, we want to launch our first maternal mental health awareness month blog hop.
Our PSI blog hop is meant to be inclusive and is also meant to promote emotional safety and comfort and hope for all contributors and readers. To that end, we welcome your participation but also please keep in mind some editorial guidelines meant to promote comfort and safety ~
- Name: Include your real name, we don’t promote people with online disguises
- Length: 500 – 1000 words
- Keeping in this year’s theme, much appreciated are personal stories about recovery from pregnancy and postpartum mental health challenges and coping skills used to maintain that recovery.
For the purpose of this blog hop and its focus on messages of recovery and hope, we want you to do your best to avoid common triggers in your posts. If you have any questions or concerns about that, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can talk about your concerns.
Please do not write about detailed suicidal or homicidal thoughts and feelings.
Editors will not tolerate any negativity directed towards individuals or groups
Please refrain from self-promotion of your website or sale items
Please post these notices:
- If you need immediate help, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- If you are looking for local pregnancy or postpartum support and resources in your area, please call or email us:
Postpartum Support International Warmline (English & Spanish)
How to participate:
1. Beginning May 1, 2013
2. Write your blog post and send a link or attachment to email@example.com so we can read it and list it on our site. This will help us keep track of all of the posts, and contact you if we have questions or suggestions.
3. Go to one of the following Blog Hop Blog Hosts:
1. Look for their post called: Link Up: PSI 2013 Blog Hop – Maternal Mental Health Recovery & Coping
2. Link up your post to that blog post in the Linky provided at the bottom of the post
3. You can copy the PSI Blog Hop photo in the blog
4. Feel free to promote your blog and the blog hop on social media!
Social Media Links:
- #PSIBLOG is the hashtag we are using to promote this event
- Twitter: PSI’s Twitter handle is @PostpartumHelp
- Please join us on the PSI Facebook pages:
- Private Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/25960478598/
- Open Page https://www.facebook.com/PostpartumSupportInternational
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I remember when the earthquake hit Haiti in January 2010. A postpartum mom still in the midst of my own life’s traumas, I got my kids off to school, then spent the day nursing my baby, watching the news, and crying. I spent the next day nursing my baby, watching the news, and going online to donate money. It was all I could think to do at the time. And I wanted to do something. I still want to do something.
Hearts Breaking: We Want to Help
Every time another tragedy hits our community, nation, world, my heart breaks. And I know mine isn’t the only one; I know the hearts of so many of you are breaking too. We all want to do something, don’t we? We want to show love to those who’ve been hit hardest with loss; we want to change the way things are, and make the world a safer place.
Personally, I’d love to find all the troubled souls who have and will perpetrate horrific crimes and rehabilitate them before they take their anger, pain, and lack of love out on the innocent anymore. But, sad to say, most of them could never be rehabilitated even if I could find them and even if they received the top treatments. Some people are, unfortunately, so damaged, they can’t let themselves be repaired.
Helping Us Heal
So, instead, I want to help us. I want to bring us a little understanding in the midst of so much insanity. I want to make sure we all know we’re in this together, and I want to help us help each other heal. Thus, I’m sharing just a few of my thoughts, in hopes that they will help someone help someone heal. After all, we can’t do this alone. We’re in it together. We hurt together; we heal together.
7 Ways to Heal From Tragedy Together
1) Whether natural or human-made, each tragedy hurts all of us. From 9-11 to Katrina to Haiti to Japan to Sandy to Sandy Hook to Boston, each community, national, and world hurt takes a little piece of our heart. We are connected, and when one of us hurts, we all hurt. That’s the difference between “us” and “them,” the perpetrators. “They” don’t know we’re all connected. They don’t feel others’ hurts, only their own. But we feel for each other, and that’s why national and world tragedies wound us so deeply. We feel, and that’s a good thing.
2) It should hurt, shouldn’t it? After every tragedy, my clients come in saying, “I don’t know anyone affected directly, but I just hurt. I don’t understand why this hurts so deeply when it’s not happening directly to me.” And I say, “But it is happening directly to you. You may not have the physical wounds to show, but, emotionally, we are all wounded.” It’s good to feel the pain of collective wounds. It means that we care.
3) Tragedy needs empathy. Without empathy, tragedy becomes “the norm”. If we don’t feel the pain of others’ suffering, we let it continue as if it’s ok. And ignoring suffering is not ok. The cure to tragedy is empathy, for empathy means we’re in this together. It means, “You’re not alone and neither am I.” Empathy heals us, heals others, heals the world.
4) So, empathize. It hurts when we empathize. We think, “What if that were me?” and we know that it could have been or still could be. When we empathize with others, we feel their pain. It’s hard to do, but it’s so important. For empathy is the cure for shame, pain, and suffering. If all the perpetrators in this world had received just a little more empathy in their lives, would I be writing this right now? Perhaps not. Empathize. Cry for the lost. Feel their pain. Let it be yours for just a little while.
5) It’s also ok to put the pain away and go back to the life right in front of you. We don’t need to get swallowed up in others’ pain; in fact, when we get swallowed up, it can make things worse. We don’t need to (and shouldn’t) watch the news 24/7, hearing every story of loss. It’s too much, and it only leads to greater anxiety, pain, and fear. It’s ok to focus on our own lives. It’s ok to smile and laugh and keep on living. It helps nothing to let fear and pain stop us in our tracks. Live life and keep on living. It’s ok. It honors those who cannot do the same. It’s the best way.
6) Some people are more sensitive to others’ pain, and tragedy can trigger painful memories of our own. Some people feel the weight of tragedy more than others, and that’s ok. It means you’re empathic, and we’ve already established empathy is a really good thing. Those of us who’ve experienced traumas of our own are also more susceptible to re-experiencing those emotions when new traumas arise. As I say, “What the mind forgets, the body remembers.” When others suffer, it often brings up our own past suffering, whether we want it to or not. That’s why Haiti hit me so hard. Being in the midst of my own grief and loss, I felt the loss of the Haitians as if it were my own. Sometimes, emotions we thought we’d already worked through years before are suddenly right on the surface again, begging for attention.We think, “I already dealt with you. You shouldn’t be here.” But pushing them away doesn’t help long term. They just keep showing up. Instead, we must slow down, breathe, and feel what we feel. Deep breath. Feel it. It’s painful, yes. But feeling is the way to healing.
7) We simply need to show up. That’s all we really need to do. Show up for ourselves. Feel what we feel. Show up for others. Be there to feel it with them. Show up for our communities, nations, for our world. That’s all we really need to do. Just keep showing up.
What are you feeling? Sharing our fears, worries, heartaches helps us heal. I hope you’ll leave us a comment, below, and share yours with us.
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I won’t lie. It’s been a rough week. A perfect storm of trying to meet a deadline for two book proposals while kids were having all kinds of issues, husband was MIA golfing in tournaments, hormones were at their evil low, and so was quantity of sleep. A “squall” of epic proportions started growing in my head and heart until I finally crashed on myself, feeling like such a loser mom.
Yes, I feel that way too. And now that my head is clearer, I can tell you this: it all stems from my thoughts. This week, I could hear them, loud and clear, bossing me around. It wasn’t pretty. You know when your 5 year-old asks, “Are you still nuts, Mom?” that it hasn’t been pretty! So, what drives these “loser mom” feelings? And what do I do about it? Here’s a little glimpse.
Why I Feel Like a Loser Mom
1) My kindergartner keeps getting notes sent home: “Please remember to help Sydney do her homework!” And, I keep forgetting to call my kids out sick from school (which has been at least once a week in winter). They always have to call me. “Oh! Yep. They’re home sick today,” I say. “Sorry I forgot. Again.”
- Loser Mom Thoughts (LMT’s): “The schools think I am a loser! They probably have a wall that says, ‘Loser Parents—Keep an Eye Out!’ with my face on it! I mean, I can’t even remember to sign my kids out or get my Kindergartener to do her work! I’m never on top of anything and I never will be!”
- What I did: Once I finally came down from my “catastrophizing,” I reminded myself: “First, it’s just calling for attendance and kindergarten homework. It’s not the end of the world. Second, if the teachers think you’re a mess, oh well. You don’t know what they’re really thinking, and they don’t know your situation. You’ve got a lot on your plate, and you’re doing the best you can.” Then, I made sure the homework got done and tried to remember to call. I do try.
2) Monday, my 9 year-old daughter told me I “never listen” to her, and that no one else in our family does either.
- “Loser Mom” Thoughts (LMT’s): “What kind of mom doesn’t listen to her kids? And you’re supposed to be a psychologist?”
- What I Did: First, I wallowed in it, bringing myself down. Eventually, though, I told my daughter I was sorry she felt that way, then kindly explained: “We have 6 kids. Usually, two or three of you are talking to me at the same time. I can’t always hear everything you each say. Maybe next time, you can put your hand on my arm until I’m ready to hear you.” Hmmm. I guess I do listen to my kids.
3) With so much I always need to “do,” my philosophy has become: “If it doesn’t absolutely have to get done now, it can wait.” I shouldn’t have been surprised, therefore, when my boys’ basketball coach told them they couldn’t play in the game on Tuesday if I didn’t get their physicals turned in by 3.
- LMT’s: “You’re always waiting ‘til the last minute! Now your kids are the only ones who haven’t turned in their forms. How embarrassing—for them and for you!”
- What I did: Now that it had to get done, I finally dug up the physicals—one hour before the game (though I almost had to call the doctor and get new copies because they weren’t filed away, “of course”)! “At least you found them in time,” I reminded myself. I may be last minute, but I do get it done.
4) Seeing that “addicted” look on my 9 and 5 year-old daughters’ faces after forgetting they’d been playing Animal Jam on the computer for way too long because I was “tired” and veg’ing out in my own way (chocolate and crappy TV).
- LMT’s: “You forgot about your kids? How could you forget? You know it’s not good to let them sit in front of a computer for hours! You never have enough energy to be the kind of mother you should be, and you probably never will!”
- What I did: I brushed their teeth, read stories, said prayers, sang a lullaby, and hugged them to bed. “Hmmm. Doesn’t sound so ‘losery’ to me.”
5) Yelling at my kids. Tuesday afternoon, when several were whining, I started. “You’re all ungrateful! I can’t believe I am raising ungrateful kids!” (I was then called out by my oldest for “lumping” all the kids together, once again, instead of remembering they’re individuals). Wednesday morning, when they weren’t up on time and were complaining about their lunch options, it got much worse: “What do any of you do for ME?! I’m so tired of it all! I’m just going to say ‘no’ to everything you ask me for the next week! I mean it! What? You don’t believe me? Just try me! You can’t beat me!” Not my finest moment.
- LMT’s: “Seriously? You’re not only yelling at your kids, you’re threatening and competing with them? You don’t need me to say it…”
- What I did: …because I was in my room crying and feeling like the most horrible person in the world. Feeling ashamed. And, acting out of shame is never good. It led to…
6) Yelling at my husband in front of the kids because he “doesn’t get it” and “just stands by while I’m falling off a cliff,” and because he has “the nerve to ask to go on a golf weekend when I’m drowning!” (It’s really more of a rant than just a yell). Then, hearing my kids tell each other they’re afraid we’re going to get divorced because we were fighting.
- LMT’s: “Rock bottom. Nice move. Now your whole family is feeling terrible. Because of you.”
- What I did: I let my husband help by taking the kids to school. I went back to bed and slept for an hour. I got up and finished my proposals before the kids got home. And, later that night, I told my kids: “I’m sorry. Yes, I was frustrated because of some of the things you’ve done, but I need you to know you’re not ungrateful kids, even if you say ungrateful things sometimes. And I need you to know I was more upset by how I was acting than by what you each did. And I really love each of you. You’re very important to me. And Dad and I are not getting divorced. Sometimes we just get frustrated with each other, kind of like you feel with each other sometimes too. I should not yell at you or Dad. I’m very sorry for that, and I’m working on doing better.” My oldest then said, “I think it was just a stressful day for us all, Mom. We’ll all be better tomorrow.” They really are good kids. Then I apologized to my husband for how I acted too; we “kissed and made up.”
7) Finally, my constant nemesis, this week and always: Telling myself way too many times, “I can’t handle six kids. Why was I given six kids if I can’t handle them?”
- LMT’s: “You really are a loser if you can’t handle your kids. Other people handle even more and with much more grace.”
- What I did: First, I told myself to shut up. Then, I showed myself compassion. “You have six kids. That’s a lot. You may not have planned on having six, but that’s what you’ve got. And you love them. It’s hard, but you really do love them. And you know it doesn’t matter what other mothers do (or appear to do). You’re doing the best you can. It’s just been a stressful week. That doesn’t mean anything about who you are.”
How I Know I’m Really Not
When I look back on what I actually did this week, I might not be such a loser after all. I’m feeling much better as I write this. Yes, the hormones and deadlines have passed, and yes, I’ve gotten some sleep. But, mostly, because I can hear my “loser mom” thoughts, I’ve been able to tackle them. I realize, now that I’m not in it, that most of the “problems” that make me feel like a loser are not really “problems” at all. They’re small and insignificant but I blow them way out of proportion. We have a rule in our house that we don’t say, “Shut up,” but I allow myself to say it to myself when I hear those LMT’s try to get me down. Because they’re wrong.
I’m not a loser mom. I’m a great mom. I know that. And it’s not even because of what I did in response to my LMT’s this week. I’m a great mom simply because I show up each day. I mess up and create problems and feel ashamed. But I keep showing up. I admit my mistakes, apologize, and try to do better. I keep loving my kids, my husband, and myself. And I show my family who I really am—a person, like anyone else—simply trying to be the best I can be.
If you haven’t already, check out Thought Management Parts 1 and 2. They explain more about how our thoughts control our bodies, emotions, and behaviors, and give tools for how to get out of our heads so we can recognize, and “call out” our “LMT’s” before they cause any more trouble!
Do you ever have LMT’s? What drives them for you? What do you do to stop them and remember you’re really NOT? Leave your thoughts, ideas, and questions below!
Fear prevents good. That’s what I’ve learned. It’s an inhibitor. It stops us in our tracks. It keeps us from doing the things that might be really good for us.
Fear Doesn’t Prevent the BAD; It Prevents the GOOD.
But most people have it backwards. They think, “Fear prevents bad things from happening.” They think fear is a signal, telling us something terrible is going to happen if we don’t stop in our tracks right now! It’s true, historically, that our ancestors relied upon fear to warn them of dangers that were very real and present. Fortunately, most of us no longer live in such a physically threatening world. Unfortunately, however, many of us still experience and react to fear, even though, most of the time, the danger is neither real nor present.
Much of the time the danger is in our minds. Fear of flying, speaking, losing, failing, not being enough, dying—the list goes on. And when we heed the voices of fear, we stop. We panic. We lose our focus, and we ultimately prevent ourselves from engaging in the very goals we so desire to achieve.
Removing Fear’s Power
How does fear show up in your life? It’s an important question, for if you can recognize fear for what it is, you can choose to stop letting fear have its way with you.
I, like you, know fear firsthand. I’ve seen it show up in many forms in my life. I may not be afraid of public speaking or flying (in fact, I love them both), but I’ve felt that familiar catch in my chest more times than I care to admit. I wish I could say I never feel fear, but I do. A few examples from my life over the past weeks include:
1) Fear of going away alone for a few days to work on my book. With 6 kids, a husband, home, private practice, etc, I get to the point where I’m exhausted, and the only way to get this book done is with some solid time alone. Yet I feel fear every time I’m preparing to leave. Deep down, I know OJ and the kids will be fine (and so will I), but something always tells me not to go. It’s only after I’m on the road that I feel the exhale and know, “Yep. That was just fear talking again. Good thing I didn’t listen.”
2) Fear of taking an incredible new opportunity. A few weeks ago, I was approached by a publisher to write a book on Self-Esteem for them. At first, I didn’t believe it. I kept telling myself it probably wasn’t real. (You know how we do that to “protect” ourselves!). But, after a week, several conversations, and free books from them had arrived, I had to accept the truth: it was real. And I had to make a choice—to take this opportunity and run with it, or to let it slip, out of fear. I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough; it’s a familiar fear for me. In fact, four years ago, when I started writing my first book (This is How We Grow, coming 2013!), I didn’t tell anyone I was writing it for 2 whole years. When I finally told someone, it was like this: “I’m writing this memoir, probably just for my family, I don’t know if I’ll actually publish it or anything.” I couldn’t call myself a writer for another year, until one day I just did. “I’m a writer.” I can say it freely now. But taking the risk of trying something new—of really putting myself out there—is always fearful for me.
3) Fear of failing as a parent. My oldest is taking his ACT in a couple of weeks. We’ve been looking at colleges. This came way too quickly for me, and I suddenly realize I’ve only got just over a year before they start flying the coop. Have I done all I set out to do as a parent? Not nearly. “What if I’ve failed them?” has been running through my mind constantly. Good thing I have a strong sense of self-worth and know I can always evaluate and re-think my parenting if needed. “Do you feel like you need to change something? If so, change it,” I remind myself. “Otherwise, let that fear take a hike!”
4) Fear of something bad happening. My husband and I just returned from a week in Belize–alone. It was wonderful. And, we deserve it. It’s been two non-stop, packed with 6 kids’ activities and our careers and work and play, years since we went away, just the two of us. Yet, the day we were supposed to leave, all I could feel was anxiety. I’ve experienced tragedy before. I know it happens. And I know that voice that likes to remind me: “What if the plane crashes?” “What if we both die and leave all 6 kids alone?” I”ve become good at telling it to quiet down, but then starts: “It’s too hard to go away, you should just stay here.” “You’re going to fly all night? You’ll be a wreck! Why even bother?” The only way out for me is to remind myself that this is nothing new. This voice tries to stop me every time, and I don’t want to miss out on experiences like these because of a faulty voice in my head. Just look at these photos of us in Belize (yes, that’s me on the bike too! They’re a great reminder of what we might be missing out on when we give in to fear.
As I’ve worked on it, I’ve learned to hear that voice—the one that tries to stop me from doing the things that scare me but are good for me. I’ve become good at feeling the emotion and exposing that voice, calling it what it is, naming it: FEAR. And that’s what takes its power away.
Fear vs. Warning
You may be thinking, “But people do die, and fail, and horrible things happen,” and you’d be right. Of course, you’re right. But giving in to fear doesn’t help a thing. Fear doesn’t prevent the bad things from happening. It just doesn’t.
See, there’s a difference between fear and a warning. Think about it. When we are in tune, we may experience warnings that will prevent us from harm. You’ve likely experienced this yourself, but if you haven’t, you’ve no doubt heard others tell their stories of receiving a warning that prevented them from driving a certain way or getting on a plane or allowing their kids to do a certain activity. And later they recognized they had unknowingly prevented a great tragedy or harm. These are remarkable experiences, and I have been fortunate to have had a few in my life too. But the thing to focus on here is how people describe these experiences. They say, “I just felt like I shouldn’t go” or “I had this overwhelming feeling I needed to turn around”. This has been my experience too—an overwhelming feeling telling me what I must do, a feeling I listen to because it feels right.
Now think of fear. Every one us has experienced moments of fear. Some moments may have existed mostly in our minds, such as the fear of public speaking or performing. Some may have been in physically threatening situations—almost falling, getting injured, or threatened with death even. Either way, the experience was likely the same—blood pressure goes up, the heart starts to race, sensation may be lost in the extremities, including dizziness or lightheadedness. It probably felt out of control, and you were probably literally unable to control certain aspects of your body. It did not feel good. It did not feel “right”. You did not, most likely, even want to be feeling what you felt. You wanted it to be over. A different experience from those moments of warning, right?
How to Not Let Fear Get the Better of YOU.
So the next time you feel that panic, worry, anxiety, stop and ask yourself, “Is this a true warning? Or is this fear?” Name it for what it is. It can’t keep you afraid if you expose it. It can’t prevent you from doing something that feels scary but is probably really good for you if you stop, name it, and feel it.
Increase your attention to warnings. Listen and heed them. But, decrease your attention to fear. The only thing it’s good for is to notice the attempt it will make to prevent you from moving forward, to recognize you’re probably onto something really good, and then to thank it for that understanding and wish it well as you pass it on by.
Good Reads on Fear:
FEAR: Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm, Thich Nhat Hanh