My Story of Stress & Anxiety
What is your happy place? The place where all your cares seem to fade away? Where you relax, and rest, and have fun all at the same time?
For me, it’s at the water, especially the beach. The wind off the ocean, the sound of the waves, the sand on my toes. Yes, things seem easier there.
But I’m learning that I can choose how stressful things feel even when I’m not at the beach. I have the power to choose how much I do and how I react to my circumstances. It’s not always easy, and I’m still learning, but day by day and little by little, I’m getting better.
It hasn't always been that way.
Last week, I shared about stress in my early years and how it contributed to many of my health issues. I had some stuff going on since childhood, like hidden food sensitivities, that set me up for a myriad of health challenges, but stress capitalized on the weaknesses and started what I call the “stress-food-mood cycle” that impacts so many women.
Once I got myself to a place where I was well, I continued to improve in many areas of life, but I took for granted how much I could handle. It wasn’t long before both my husband and I took an assessment on our life and realized that it was seriously out of balance. The hours we worked were insane and it was obvious in our overall quality of life. We weren’t happy and something needed to change. We prayed about it and God quickly opened numerous doors for us to sell our home and move to a new state.
The move was just what we needed, and life felt good again. I was healthier than ever, and it was easy to stay that way. Eventually, as we became used to feeling good again, we started to take on more and more, and for the most part, we did okay… but then I got pregnant.
Pregnancy is a beautiful of time in life, filled with excitement and anticipation. A little stress is normal, as you’re figuring out what to expect and preparing for a new baby. A lot of stress… not so ideal. I was anxious about having a baby – about doing everything right during pregnancy, about having a natural birth, about setting ourselves up to be great parents. But I was also anxious about how much things were changing, including a job change and not knowing how I was going to manage it all once the baby came. And then, I found out my son was breeched and if he didn’t turn, I was facing a C-section. Long story short, to say I was stressed during my pregnancy would be an understatement. Even I considered myself stressed, and it took a lot for me to feel that way.
Stress during pregnancy is not good for either mom or baby. Elevated stress hormones can disrupt normal physiological processes, including digestion and assimilation of nutrients. The last thing I ever wanted was to reduce the nutrients that my little baby was receiving, not to mention all the other potential effects from stress.
Thankfully, despite all of my stress, I had a relatively easy pregnancy and am forever grateful that my son turned head down and was born naturally. All was well, and I was in love with this precious little angel.
We came home and began our lives as a family of three, and I was on cloud 9.
Until I wasn’t.