‘She already feels bad. Tells her it’s okay’ Mum’s advice for partners of parents with anxiety goes viral

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  • Laura Mazza, an Australian parenting blogger known for her site The Mum on The Run, has penned a moving open letter to ‘the man whose wife or partner has anxiety‘, whilst sharing her personal experience with the condition.

    The post, which she uploaded to her Facebook page, details the mindset of a woman parenting with anxiety and also explores how a partner can best support them in their times of need.

    The mother of two has previously been open about her battles with anxiety, using her platform to spread awareness of PANDA – an Australian support group for parents struggling with perinatal anxiety and antenatal depression.

    ‘Anxiety isn’t a one size fits all, it isn’t consistent and it isn’t always easy to tell,’ she explained. ‘You might think she’s just snapped at you, but it was anxiety that did it, you might think she’s angry, but it’s the anxiety that’s got a choke hold, you might think she’s not enjoying herself when you go out and it’s your fault, but it’s not. It’s anxiety.’

    Laura also shared an insight into the mind of a woman struggling with the condition, writing: ‘There isn’t a day that goes by where she doesn’t think. She thinks about everything, and usually it is the worst case scenario. She worries that something will go wrong. That some days if she leaves the house, something will happen. Kidnapping, deaths, falls, cars spinning out of control, that’s why she can’t just leave the house or just go out, even though you’ve suggested it with good intentions. But it’s not so easy.’

    The post is accompanied by a black and white photograph of herself and her husband, staring directly into the lens.

    Addressing the men looking to support their partners, she advised: ‘If you see her struggling with appointments, reschedule them for her, encourage her to take it slowly. Too much is overwhelming for her, even though she has good intentions. Don’t make her feel bad for missing an appointment, a party, whatever. She wanted to go, but she couldn’t. She already feels bad. Tells her it’s okay. Take the kids out for a play when you see her struggling, encourage her to take time out for herself. If the kids are awake all night and she’s worse if she has less sleep, get up with her, take over. Tell her to go back to bed.’

    Hey mama hiding in the bathroom, needing that one single minute to herself. Feeling sad and overwhelmed and guilty…. I see you. Hey mama that's so tired she would give anything to just close her eyes and sleep, but is struggling to carry through the day… I see you. Hey mama laying in bed at night crying, wondering how she will face another day… feeling guilty for the times she yelled today because of frustration, isolation and exhaustion. I see you. Hey mama who has ordered takeaway because she's too exhausted physically and emotionally to cook. I see you. Hey mama living off coffee and cake because she's so tired, feeling guilty because she's just too tired to cook, eating a block of chocolate in the cupboard… I hope no one sees you and you eat that chocolate in peace 😉 Hey mama looking in the mirror, looking at the way she's changed, at her tired eyes. I see you. You're beautiful. Hey mama that's trying to fit in that outfit because she wants to feel like she's still got it. Babe I see you, and you still got it outfit or not. Hey mama who's child is throwing a tantrum, they always seem to do it when everyone is watching right? I feel you. Hey mama feeling guilty and like she is unworthy, the mama who feels alone in those four walls doesn't matter how many voices are around her. Who finds some days just too hard to leave the house. I see you. Motherhood is the hardest hood we will ever walk through. Some days will be and feel beautiful and others will feel like you've been swallowed whole and spat out – I know on those days you feel alone and like no one can see you. But we see you mama, we see you. All of us are struggling at some point of the day, none of us have it all together, and that's okay. Because you and I, we are amazing, we are worthy, and we are enough. You are doing your best. Your children are healthy, they are fed, they are loved in all the ways their little hearts deserve. And the world sees that mama, the world sees all you can do despite your exhaustion, your frustration, your loneliness or your bad days, and mama your children see that…your children see you, and in their eyes, in their eyes mama, you're a queen.

    A post shared by The Mum On The Run (@themumontherun_) on

    However she also flagged that it wasn’t a one size fits all situation, saying that ‘sometimes the answer won’t be so obvious. Sometimes she won’t even know the answer is to what she needs, but so long as [you’re] patient with her, she will feel your love.’

    Lauren’s viral letter, which has also been cross-posted to her blog and Instagram account, has since been shared over 111,600 times, garnering 41,000 reactions and over 31,000 comments on Facebook, and sparked a massive conversation about living with anxiety as a parent.

    Other users began sharing their own personal experience, praising her for spreading awareness about the condition as well as their own battles with anxiety.

    One mother wrote: ‘Holy hell. How have you organised all my jumbled thoughts and put them into something understandable?? Everything that I’ve tried to explain a thousand times but can never get out (especially in my frustrated moments of pure anxious messiness)! I think a lot of ladies right now are thinking pure gratitude towards you.’

    Another said: ‘Look at all the people tagging their partners, friends & family. That’s because [of] you Laura.’

    Laura also had words of support for fellow anxiety suffers, saying in the comments: ‘You are not your illness, every day you fight your illness, you’re not anxiety you’re a fighter. And you’re totally not alone’.

    Many tagged their partners, asking them to read the post for them with comments like ‘Take your time and read this this. It’s 100% true and it kills me everyday’ as well as ‘honey read this. It felt like this was about me while I was reading this.’

    "You're just a mum?" She said "yeah, I'm just a mum" But you're not "just" a mum. You are a mother, the word "just" doesn't belong in front of it. As mothers we should never reduce ourselves with the word, just because being a mother is enough. It's more than enough. Mothers are raising the next generation. The next president, the next doctor, the next brick layer, the next school teacher, the next "become whatever you dream of" and I will be there for you and support you. While they do that they are reading books, fuelling imaginations, cooking, cleaning, listening and talking. "Just" doesn't belong there because being a mother is enough. A mum isn't a 9-5, it's a 9am to 9am the next day and then some. It's no lunch breaks, it's early starts and late nights. It's no sick days. Its joyful and relentless, It's laughing and crying, it's breaking down and showing vulnerability and being the strongest you've ever have to be. There's no just. Don't let anyone belittle you with a "just" because they don't see you and your every day. They don't know the strength you have. They don't see the days you are alone without any support. The days you spend making sure your child's life is perfect. Making sure they're happy and healthy, with doctors and specialist appointments and more google searches than your phone's history can handle. They don't see carefully thought out lunches and dinners. Even when you have nothing in the pantry and little money in the account, you still make do. Folding loads of laundry, the never ever ending laundry which you'd trade your left kidney to never have to do. Counting to 3 over and over but keeping your patience. Kisses on foreheads, pretty bandaids on boo boo's, endless cuddles, midnight hugs, blankets tucked in just right, warm showers running,holding their sick little bodies close to you. Prayers in the middle of the night for their little souls, prayers for their big souls, prayers that they're always be happy and safe, consoling broken hearts, worrying when they'll come home at 3am. If they'll always be safe. That's not just a mum. That's so much more. Those things aren't just things. They're everything. They matter.

    A post shared by The Mum On The Run (@themumontherun_) on

    Other boyfriends and husbands also tagged their partners, with one saying: ‘It explains a lot about the conflicts that goes on between us. I will really start being more attentive of my actions.’