Photo Credit: Elle R Photography
On any given day, any of my long list of anxieties can take over my life at the drop of a hat... this has been my life as long as I have known it. Health anxiety has reared its ugly head since I had my kids, and nearly any news story or mention of death or chance of dying can trigger a deep rooted response in me and down I go, spiralling into a world of numbing fear and darkness I can't shake.
I know I am not alone. Millions of people suffer from mental health issues, and I know many moms especially, live with these debilitating illnesses.
Enter Covid 19 aka Corona Virus, and the widespread mass panic. Enter the new 'norm' for at least the foreseeable future of self isolating and social distancing to avoid this scary (and deadly) virus. On top of this, schools are now closed, parents are forced to stay home to care for and homeschool their children amidst the panic and chaos.
I think that most people (if not everyone) is feeling overwhelmed and anxious.
I have tried all week to be a 'good' mom, planning our days to include the recommended educational time, craft time, quiet time and finally, yes, some TV time. Trying to find a balance amongst the chaos has caused a huge deal of added stress. Every day ended and I felt utterly lost, sad and alone. Not only do I have my own anxieties to deal with, but now I see my children looking up to me, wondering why everything is suddenly different. Why can't they play with their friends? Why can't they go to school, or the park, or have a sleepover? Why can't they do anything they used to take for granted?
I find myself feeling guilty at the end of each day- guilty for the fact that my kids are missing out on a 'normal' life, guilty that they watched 2 hours straight of TV, guilty that I had ALL day but never got to the dishes... never got to the laundry, or all the other household chores that surely I SHOULD have done. Today, everything came crashing down on me like a ton of bricks.
I totally LOST it. I felt so GUILTY.
For the first time all week I chatted with some other mommas, cautiously shared my feelings and found out that they felt the same way I did. I KNOW I am not alone. My feelings of guilt had worn me down so much and I was so caught up in them that I couldn't breathe.
You know what I realized I really need right now? I really just needed someone to tell me that I was enough. I WANTED someone to tell me that I was enough. "YOU are enough". You are enough right now. YOU are enough for your children, regardless of not being able to find the perfect balance or answers OR have a plan for everything. YOU are what they need and YOU are doing the best you can.
I think if we can empower each other through this- if us moms can stick together and tell one another every day that "YOU are enough"- just maybe, little by little, day by day, we will feel less 'isolated' and alone in all of this. I realize it sounds so simple, but I truly believe that some simple words of encouragement could be just what a momma needs when she is ridden with guilt, and the world seems to be falling apart. I know that's what I needed today.
To work through some of my anxiety last night, I compiled a few of my favourite Kids and Animals images from the last couple years. Most of these have just sat on my hard drive but are too cute not to share :)
First, a bit about my thoughts right now (feel free to skip this and just scroll through the adorable pictures instead!):
I'm trying to avoid social media for the time being, as I have been having some extreme anxiety surrounding the scary things going on in the world. While I do think it is important to keep up on the facts around Covid 19 (corona virus), there is also a lot circulating the media that is untrue, and even some put out there it seems intended to create more widespread mass panic. We as a family are taking the recommendations to stay in, avoid crowds, and even avoiding get togethers with friends and family. I have also been quiet on my business page watching this all unfold, not 100% sure what measures to take. I have recently decided, that for the safety of my clients (esp newborns) and my own family, that I will not be taking any studio sessions on at this time. Having a daughter who requires hospital intervention every year due to a simple cold/flu bug because of her lung conditions is scary enough. With this new virus around that seems to attack the lungs, I am taking every precaution to limit our exposure, and in turn to protect her. I believe it is our social responsibility to protect others ( esp. the more vulnerable) now, by practising social distancing even at such an extreme level. I am surprised to see there are still a lot of individuals running businesses and working closely with people, newborns etc, however most non essential business are closing their doors (ie dental offices, massage centres etc.) which I think at this point is the right thing to do. Living with no income is hard... but living with a seriously sick baby, child, parent or spouse is even harder...
I hope these cuties can put a smile on your face!
Alicia Nicole Wopereis
Dedicated to both creating and capturing the beautiful moments in life. The moments that shape us, move us, and allow us to never forget.