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Childbirth Isn't the Only Part of Motherhood Which Requires Heavy Breathing

Photo by: iStock

I don’t like needles. I never have. Anyone who has been pregnant, though, knows that needles are a given part of the process. There are shots and blood draws that occur on a regular basis during those nine months. Each time I was faced with one of these procedures, I warned the nurses that I often got lightheaded, and that, once – only once – I passed out. Usually they were sympathetic, although I’m sure they were working hard to stifle their laughter.

About halfway through my second pregnancy, I was again sitting in one of those special, uncomfortable chairs they use when they draw blood. I gave my usual disclaimer and the nurse began the procedure. This time, however, there happened to be another nurse in the room checking the supplies in the cabinet. After overhearing my cautionary statement, she watched from the corner of her eye as the other nurse administered the needle. Then, that second nurse came over to me said something that struck me deeper than its intended meaning.

“Honey, you have to breathe.”

She said it calmly and clearly. “You have to breathe.”

Until then, I had never realized that I was actually holding my breath during these moments of uneasiness, which is, of course, the reason I became so woozy.

Since then, I make a conscious effort to breathe during times when I am nervous or upset. I actually say to myself, “Breathe in. Breathe out.” (Not out loud, of course.)

It sounds so basic, doesn’t it? It is surprising how often I have to remind myself to do something that should be so natural. Then again, motherhood is full of apprehensive and unsettling moments.

As I watched my babies take their first steps, I wanted so badly to reach out and catch them every time they fell. I held my breath hoping they would succeed. Breathe in. Breathe out.

As I walked away from their kindergarten classroom doors, I knew they would be okay, but I still cried. Breathe in. Breathe out.

As I let go of the bike, I prayed they didn’t crash. Breathe in. Breathe out.

When I left my oldest in a distant city for an overnight trip, and when I dropped her off for her first day of middle school, I had to remember. Breathe in. Breathe out.

When my middle daughter had the courage to step up and play soccer goalie for the first time, I desperately wanted it to go well for her. Breathe in. Breathe out.

As my three daughters get older, I will hold my breath many more times, I know. When they get their first broken hearts, or when they get behind the wheel for the first time, or when they head off to college, or when they walk down the aisle – I will have to remind myself again. Breathe in. Breathe out.

From time to time, I may even have to remind them, too.

Motherhood is hard. Parenting is hard. It’s scary and wonderful and fulfilling and draining all at the same time. It brings out emotions that we never knew we had and it can make those emotions feel overwhelming sometimes. We get frustrated. We get angry. We feel joy. We feel sadness. We worry. We swell with pride. Our hearts overflow with a love that is stronger and deeper than we ever imagined could be possible.

It’s intense to say the least, and it can definitely take your breath away. Sometimes, all we can do is hold on tightly, hope for the best, and remember to breathe.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

Lisa Witherspoon is a SAHM and the Director Of Household Operations in the ‘Spoon’ household. Fueled by coffee and chocolate, Lisa writes about the joys, frustrations, surprises, and chaos of motherhood on her blog, The Golden Spoons. She is also a contributing author to The Mother of All Meltdowns anthology. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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