**Before we dive in, I have to say this: postpartum anxiety (and anxiety in general) is very real and very common. Hormones are WILD and your mental health is so important. If at any point your anxiety feels beyond the realm of “normal”, inhibits you from doing and enjoying daily tasks, or feels unbearable— there is absolutely ZERO shame in talking to your doctor or midwife. Please ask for help. It doesn’t have to be that way and there are so many resources that can aid in getting you back to your healthy and happy self.**

My number one piece of advice for new moms? Learn to manage anxiety. Learning to manage anxiety about our children is hands down one of the very BEST things we can do—because it keeps. on. coming… in constantly changing new forms. For many it starts when baby is still in the womb. Then we feel it while we’re checking to see if they’re breathing as they sleep… or leaving them with someone else to hold so you can take a nap. Then, they start becoming mobile and you worry they’ll hurt themselves on their crib bars or find something on the floor they shouldn’t have. As soon as you feel better about them moving all over, they start crawling and will figure out how to climb onto the couch. BUT WAIT. They don’t know how to get down by themselves and now you’re worried about them falling from all the things they can get up on. And then they’re eating and maybe they choke. Are they eating enough? Gaining enough weight? Getting enough nutrients? And then they’re learning but certain things aren’t at the same pace as others. And then you have more kids and more possible things that can go wrong. One with an IEP. One with a lazy eye you have to patch and that could mean surgery down the road. Is my CHILD dealing with anxiety too? Should I be worried about their habit of xyz? What about these test scores? And that friend they spend so much time with? Are they safe at their school? And then they’re driving, and they’re dating …it goes on and on. Worrying about our children is normal. Learning to manage the worry is invaluable.

“Worrying about our children is normal. Learning to manage the worry is invaluable.”

I can’t tell you what’s going to work best for you, but I can tell you what has helped me and hopefully steer you in the right direction on a path to parenting NOT worry free (HELLO we’re not robots), but worry managed.

First and absolutely foremost- I hand my worries over to the Creator of my child. How? It’s hard to imagine that HE loves my children infinitely times more than I ever could- but He does. He knows every single hair on their head, their thoughts, their fears, their future and their past— more than I could even dream to know about them. I won’t always know why my kids experience pain or hardships- but I DO know that through it all, He holds them in the palm of His hand. And so- I pray. I read (my Bible). And I pray some more. I hand over my fears, my anxiety, and the safety of my children’s bodies, minds, and hearts over to Him. Don’t get me wrong here- it’s not easy. It’s not easy to release my false sense of control over the people I love most on this earth and just trust that His ways are better than my ways and His thoughts so much higher than my thoughts— and— that His protection over them is better than my protection over them; but I do it anyway.

It’s not easy to release my false sense of control over the people I love most on this earth and just trust that His ways are better than my ways and His thoughts so much higher than my thoughts— and— that His protection over them is better than my protection over them; but I do it anyway.

Then, there are some things I *can* control. I can control the amount of exercise I get; the endorphin release that helps to clear my mind and reduce stress. I can control what I eat- how I’m fueling my body so that I’m not sluggish and tired. I can arrange for breaks and make sure that I am healthy in both mind and body so that I can manage my anxiety with a clear mind and release some of the stress in a healthy way.

I can also *choose* to let my children do things that are scary to me. In many of the things we fear for our kids, the solution is simply to allow them the space to master it while we are still there to catch them if and when they fall (figuratively and literally). Before long, the thing we feared is no longer a threat and we are able to move on. There will still be challenges this doesn’t apply to, but in those situations we revert back to step one. Prayer. Confidence that we’ve done all we know to do to protect them and have given them the tools that they need— anything beyond that is not our burden to carry. From the day they’re born, our ultimate goal is to release to our children more and more freedom until they can tackle life all on their own. Learning to manage our fears helps to create space for our children to flourish.

The reality is- raising children is a huge responsibility, and the love we have for them can be overwhelming at times. It IS scary. The world is scary. Not having control is scary. Rather than walk in fear or guilt if not being able to protect them enough, we have the opportunity to be proactive- to do the best we can with what we have, and release the rest to a God that loves them and wants the very best for them. We can continue to live in the fears that will relentlessly attack our minds, or we can learn to manage them and grow in a way that makes these years so much sweeter.

Verses to know/memorize/write on your mirror/whatever your jam is:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 18:10

“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

2 Timothy 1:7

“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward”

Psalm 127:3

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Proverbs 22:6

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:13-16

“Arise, cry out in the night, at the beginning of the night watches! Pour out your heart like water before the presence of the Lord! Lift your hands to him for the lives of your children, who faint for hunger at the head of every street.”

Lamentations 2:19

“But Jesus said, Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

Matthew 19:14

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”

1 John 4:18

“say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”

Isaiah 35:4

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

Hebrews 11:1

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life ? “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

Matthew 6:25-34

“I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”

Psalm 34:4

“When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”

Psalm 94:19

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

Jeremiah 17: 7-8

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