As I write this, I’m on the tail end of a big, ugly, mama meltdown. I put my daughter down for a nap a few hours ago and lay down to get some rest myself. Immediately my mind started racing. It’s been doing that the past few days, but this time there was no avoiding the onslaught of emotions headed my way.
I figured I wasn’t going to be able to sleep, so I opted for a shower. Well, what’s more appropriately dramatic for a 39 week pregnant woman to do than to collapse in tears on the shower floor, right?
I sobbed. And I sobbed. And sobbed some more. I thought it was getting a bit ridiculous and melodramatic but I just couldn’t stop.
I considered calling my husband and crying to him. Maybe I would ask him to come home from work early to console his hot mess of a wife.
Nah, I could wait a few more hours. I ended up texting him and asking that he skip any stops on the way home (turns out he had planned none) and come straight home after work. He asked what was wrong and I simply stated, “I’m stressing and can’t stop crying. I need to process what I’m feeling and come up with a plan to combat the stress.”
I then remembered a post my friend Julie had shared on Facebook. I searched through and found it:
This morning…I experienced a major melt down. Yep. Major. Tears welled up in my eyes out of extreme fatigue, overwhelm and quite frankly too much on my plate.
In the midst of the melt down (I have no other word to describe it) I discovered that I have indeed grown. Rather than freak out, I stopped and took a deep breath. I changed the self-talk in my head to this, “Julie, calm down. You’ve got this. This is only a temporary feeling. This too shall pass. Keep moving forward.” I resisted the urge to “call someone and vent”. Instead, I stopped and asked the Giver of my Life for peace and His Grace. He provided. And, I resisted the urge to reach for a quick fix, ie: food, social media, complaining, etc. Today, the battle was won.
What I have learned is that life is full of melt downs. I have had my share, that is for sure!…No matter the road you and I are on, no matter the journey. Expect them. They will come! The question is, “What are you going to do when they do come?”
After reading this post, I asked myself, “Ok Tricia, what are you going to do about this?”
I thought about my list of go-to actions when I’m feeling stressed and overwhelmed:
- Ensuring I’m rested
- Physical activity
- Get outside
- Reading God’s word
- Verbalizing affirmations
- Seeking enjoyable activities
- Serving others
I then considered, “What is the best use of what I’m feeling right now?” The most effective means of fighting against anxiety in my life has been to serve others. I also really benefit from processing my emotions in writing. It only made sense to write a post and share this ugly, frustrating moment in order to encourage other mamas who may experience moments like this.
Does this post provide a solution to the problem I’m stressing about? Nope. I may not have a solution for weeks or even months. And that’s okay. What matters is that I find a healthy way of handling the stress. After all, I’m going to have a beautiful baby boy any day now. The last thing I need is to be stressing about things over which I have no immediate control.
What can I control? My reactions. So what’s my plan? What can you do in the midst of a big, ugly, mama meltdown?
- If you need to cry ugly tears for a little while, go ahead. Get it out of your system.
- Reach out for support
- Maybe your hubby can provide that support. Or you might need to process what you’re feeling with a friend or another family member.
- Be comfortable with not having the answers
- It is awful when there is no quick fix. But there rarely are quick fixes, and that’s a fact of life that we have to come to terms with.
- Remember that this will pass
- In your worst moments, you most likely are falling victim to one or more of the following: lack of sleep, loneliness, hormones, hunger, exhaustion, and much more. Know that what you’re feeling is temporary.
- Decide how you’re going to move forward
- Key words: move forward. Don’t allow yourself to get stuck and wallow. The ball is in your hands. Do something positive.
- Get outside of yourself
- The last thing we want to do when we’re feeling down is to help someone else, right? Oddly enough, it is the perfect remedy. While it’s okay to feel sad for ourselves, it’s not okay to get stuck there and become overly inward-focused. Take a few moments to encourage someone else in some way. For all you know, they may be in the middle of a rough patch, too, and your words or actions could completely turn their day…or their life…around.
So here I am. I certainly feel better having done something constructive with my messy feelings.
The next time you experience a mama meltdown, consider how you can use it as fuel for your tank. How can you move forward and be better prepared for what’s to come?
Addendum: We had a pretty bad thunderstorm the evening I wrote this post. As Jeremy and I sat on the couch talking, I noticed the color outside seemed odd. I stepped out on the porch to find this:
God is good. His promises are true.
This gorgeous rainbow was a reminder, “For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you.” (Hebrews 13:5).