Anticipating with Anxiety

This blog is written in two parts. I decided to write something prior to the visit with my son, and then immediately after. The reason for this being, our mind plays tricks on us and I wanted to show the expectations versus the reality.

BEFORE:

I had a choice of visiting my son this weekend or at the end of the month. I didn’t want to spend all that time waiting and thinking, so I decided to just go this weekend. Ever since I made that decision, I’ve been panicking. “Holy expletives!” I’m thinking, “I’m not ready, I’ve had no time to prepare.” So today, the day before the visit, I’ve been trying to calm myself down. I painted, took a bubble bath, drank wine, did some unnecessary shopping, and called my parents and friends.

I am the type of person that feels lost when I don’t know what the next step is. Ever since the “adventure” of my unexpected pregnancy, I’m not a fan of free falling. I always have a master plan. However, my emotions surrounding the adoption aren’t things I can control or expect; my feelings could jump out of a plane without a parachute at any given moment.

When I made my round of phone calls today, everyone asked me the same question, “Why are you afraid to visit your son?” “I’m not.” I replied, “I’m afraid of what happens when I leave.” The fear of this is all very real to me. I recall a time last year when I was in an emotional slump for maybe a month and a half. Those were very hard times, and it’s something I never want to relive. I want so badly for tomorrow to go well, but until then, I’m going to sit here and bite my nails.

AFTER:

The adoptive parents and I went into this open adoption journey with little expectations. While this way of doing things was a risk, it allowed us to develop trust in each other. We agreed I would receive pictures and get a few visits, but I never know what to expect- thus causing me to free fall with my heart in my throat at times. Every bit of anxiety I had leading up to this visit was chipping away at that trust we worked so hard to build. Today, when I arrived for the visit, my son’s mother said to me, “I am so happy to see you! I’ve been giddy about this since I woke up this morning.”

Okay. Foot in mouth. It was my “duh” moment. Not only was I scared of how it would feel to leave, I always have this underlying feeling that I am intruding on their life- like my visits are out of obligation. As soon as she said that to me, my doubt vanished. Why did all my doubt vanish? Because it was based upon nothing but falsehoods. There was no reality to any of these thoughts.

Doubts are natural, but it’s important to tell yourself that the fear is probably not based on anything true. I talk to a lot of birth moms, and a lot of them have expressed this same anxious feeling before visits. What’s the common denominator? Lack of control over and free falling emotions. The best thing you can do is take your mind off of the anticipation. Be there for the moment and the memories. But nothing good comes from worrying.

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, but only empties today of its strengths.” If you have a visit coming up, work on this little exercise – it’s my new favorite. Look in the mirror, and tell yourself, “Shut up. You’re fine. It’s gonna be great.”