Stressing about stressing

The baby has been sick again. Yesterday he woke up early and refused any form of bottle/nourishment, and seemed to have an upset tummy. We weren’t surprised because Violet had been home with a stomach bug earlier in the week.

Immediately a feeling of panic set in. I knew the illness would pass. I knew he wasn’t in need of medical help. I realized that my fear wasn’t related to Arlo’s health. It was about how I would handle it. Would I be able to comfort a crying baby all day long? Would I manage to get him to sleep? Would I manage to feed him something so I could rest easy?

I went about my day, taking advantage of any quiet moments to accomplish my own tasks, and to breathe. It made the more difficult moments bearable to feel that I had cared for myself.

By afternoon I was able to observe the situation with less judgement. It was a tough day… but not nearly as bad as I had worried it would be. I recognized that the baby wasn’t as difficult to manage as I had feared, and I had still managed to accomplish most of my to-do list.

My own fear and anxiety about the situation – the emotions *surrounding* the issue itself – were the bigger discomfort. The sick baby hadn’t really been a problem at all. It was the feelings I had projected about that issue had made me feel stressed and made the day less enjoyable. And even if the day had been awful, my feeling of stress about it would have made me feel even worse.

It’s amazing how emotions compound other emotions. Our emotions compound problems.

It was a reminder for me about the importance of observing without judgement. Without trying to change the situation, I can choose not to react to it. With equanimity, I can accept what comes my way, whether I perceive it to be positive or negative, and just live in the reality of the moment without letting my emotions take up extra space.

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