WHEN RESILIENCE IS ALL YOU HAVE LEFT – HOW BECOMING A MOTHER CHANGED MY LIFE.

Resilient: adj. – able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.

I have been thinking about this word a lot lately. I knew the definition of this word, but I did not relate it to myself until my sister-in-law told me she wrote a college paper over the word and used my life as an example of resilience. Realizing how resilient I am, I think about this word on the daily now.

Last year was a whirlwind for me. Most of my close friends and family know I went through a bit of a breakdown. I have never been very good with change and I went through a million major life changes within months. Within one summer, I became a wife, began living on my own and completely took over the finances, and started a full-time career. I did not take things one day at a time. My perfectionist personality made sure everything was lined up exactly how it was supposed to be. I was completely stressed to the core for a good two years before my body and mind finally collapsed on me and made me slow down. The above life changes were very positive, but stressful nonetheless. I felt pressure from every direction. Throw in some negative life changes for my husband and I and every day my mind felt like a tornado. We dealt with two cars being totaled and a third completely dying, the death of two grandparents, a cancer scare from my sister, and actual cancer and major surgery from my dad.

What got me through all these life changes? Resilience.

You see, looking back, the meaning of this word has always been instilled in my soul. You may look at me and say, “Oh, poor pitiful you, it could be way worse.” Which is true. It could have been.

I still had a roof over my head and food to eat. In fact, I had more than that. I had an amazing husband whose words encouraged me every day that we would get through it together. I had an amazing family that would never let me fail. I had incredible friends that listened to me in some of my darkest moments.

The only thing that made it all miserable was the one word we all hate – anxiety.

Okay, for those of you with anxiety, we both know it’s no little thing. It’s a huge thing. It makes your brain feel like a cloud, your surroundings seem unreal, and sometimes like you’re not in your own body. There were times I couldn’t get going, needing constant reassurance from family, and many unhealthy google searches if I was going crazy. What got me through anxiety? Resilience.

I finally took a step back and realized how much stress – over the course of years – that I was putting on my body and mind. I looked to the root of what anxiety is. It is wanting to be in control. It is wanting to have the future completely figured out. I slowly realized that this was no way to live. In fact, this was a waste of life and living in/enjoying the present moment. A not-so-bad way of looking at anxiety is realizing that anxiety is your body trying to PROTECT you. It’s telling you something is wrong. You are putting too much pressure on yourself. You are expecting too much of yourself. You are expecting too much of other people-and that is something you cannot control. I was setting myself up for failure for years and it took a complete breakdown to slow me down and realize it was a problem. What got me through this breakdown? Resilience.

In the midst of all of this. The biggest (and possibly scariest) life change of all was my pregnancy. What could have potentially made my anxiety severely worse ended up making my mind and body that much stronger. Pregnancy told me to slow down and start enjoying life.

I did not want to put the same kind of stress I was putting on myself on my son.

So I changed.

I grew.

I retrained my brain.

I took it a day at a time. I loved my unborn son more than anything I can think up. I loved my husband harder and better. And I was resilient. Because life is so much more than going through the motions. Tough times don’t last, tough, resilient people do. I knew that in my inner most being. These feelings won’t last forever. So I kept on. I realized that any pressures were coming from society and negative thinking patterns, not what was actually mattering in life. We all have a purpose and we will all go through tests.

My purpose has never been more clear than August 3rd, 2017. What got me through labor and delivery of my first born? Resilience. Bouncing back from tough – no – near impossible times because you know that something better is always coming, and it will be more than worth it.

After 11 hours of labor, and my husband being the most supportive person on planet earth, I saw the back of my son’s body. And then he was placed on my bare chest. It was just my husband, myself, and the baby. I have never felt more like the stars were aligned. I’ve never felt more connected to my gleaming husband. I have never felt more proud. I’ve never felt closer to God.

I carried life.

I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t think the good in life heavily outweighed the bad. I wouldn’t have done that if I wasn’t resilient.

That moment is imprinted on my soul. I will never forget it as long as I live and forever replay it in my head. I know I have some long years ahead of me. What will get me through the journey of parenthood? Resilience. You better believe I will be teaching my son that word at an early age. Because life is not meant to be easy, but it’s meant to be worth it. For now, I am taking things much slower, praying hard, and letting life unfold in front of me. I’m finally learning to not force things. I am watching my son grow and I am honestly the happiest I have ever been in my life. What is getting me through the sleepless nights and breastfeeding? Resilience. Every time I stare at his angel face, I remember why I made this journey into motherhood.