I was Instagram DM’ing with a friend last week when I accidentally came up with the most accurate phrase yet to describe my state of mind. I told her that lately, I have been a walking, talking, swiftly-ticking “What If bomb.”
Other parents might know what a What If bomb is; I know most mothers will.
The What If bomb (hi! #itme) spends her days playing through worst-case scenarios in her head. If there is an accident to be dreamed up, or a condition to be diagnosed with, or a thing to go wrong, the unfailingly-agitated What If bomb has already dreamed it up. She’s also dreamed up the potential responses to said horrific circumstances, which are always, always devastating.
But here’s the problem with being the What If bomb. Rarely, thank God, do all the things that she worries about come true. And therefore a lot of time and energy is wasted, and there is anxiety. So much anxiety.
I can’t say I was always like this. In fact, I can affirmatively say that never, until motherhood, have I been anxious. Those close to me would best describe my personality as easygoing, with even things as significant my career being the result of nothing more than a gentle guiding of the universe.
But nope. Not any more. Now, I am the What If bomb.
What my unexpectedly teary Instagram Story about the nerves surrounding my first mammogram taught me (seriously, I did not expect to get emotional on social media, and even after I shot it I questioned if I should post it) was that I have actually been this person–this nervy, worried person–since having children.
And from the flood of incredibly supportive and loving messages I got from other women out there, I know so many of you have experienced the same thing. And to that, I say, I see you, sister. I feel your unwanted, inexplicable worry, and I see your confusion as to who this new person is that emerged after having kids.
But there has to be a better way.
So to my fellow What If’ers, I have a proposition. What if (see what I did there?) we replaced one of our worst-case scenarios every day with a best-case scenario?
What if we asked ourselves, “What if only the best possible outcome will happen as a result of this decision I’m about to make?”
Or, “What if the move I’m about to make will result in happiness, safety, good vibes and energetic wealth?”
Or, the simplest but yet most powerful possibility: “What if everything is going to be just fine?”
Or, the simplest but yet most powerful possibility: “What if everything is going to be just fine?“
To my fellow moms–my sisters–I want you to know that you are not alone in this rocking boat of motherhood. Sometimes our perspectives change because now, we have so much more to worry about. Now, our health, and our happiness, and our diagnoses are no longer just about our individual well-being, but also about the well-being of these new people we brought into this world. And that’s hard.
But this is one tool we can use, one place to start. So I’m going to try to defuse my What If bomb one powerfully positive statement at a time. Just one. And who knows, maybe it will work for you, too.