12 Holding Hope – Sarah Stewart
Author: Sarah Stewart, Pima Community College
The very beginning year of 2020 was normal, but on the news, there was a virus breaking out in China and parts of Europe coming into the US. Copious amounts of people were dying, its spread extremely fast. The first case that came to the United States was in Washington State. Once it hit Washington State, it spread like wildfire. Being in Arizona, I never thought the state would shut down like them. I was becoming paranoid and stressed because I was pregnant. Little did I know the Arizona shut down completely in March 2020. People were going to grocery stores hoarding everything. Schools were closing, non-essential stores were closing, restaurants, gyms, and even parks. My employer did not want me to continue to work due to being high-risk. I ended up leaving and staying home full-time with my 6-year-old son. With everything being chaotic, everyone being in a panic, larges amount of people was dying, being pregnant and so vulnerable in this world. My mental health and well-being were going against me.
Being home was fun at first, not having to wake up to an alarm clock, not having anywhere to go, be on a schedule. My son did not have to go to school, and I didn’t have to work, we could spend all day together doing art and crafts. But slowly it started to become groundhogs’ day. Nowhere to go, nothing new happened. No contact to the outside world besides going to the grocery store. I should have been happy to stay home with my son all day. I kept telling myself that. But my bills were piling up, with no money coming in I did not know what to do. The government was talking about the stimulus check and unemployment but didn’t approve it extremely fast.
My OBGYN office decided to only authorize the patient coming in. My boyfriend could not come with me to any appointments. Something that was supposed to be happy and exciting, became dull and depressing. I ended up having to have ultrasounds every 3 weeks, my pregnancy became elevated risk due to having early contractions. I found out the gender of my baby by myself. It was just me and the sonographer. I wasn’t as happy as I thought I was going to be. When I told my boyfriend, family, and friends. They were thrilled, but I was not.
I started not feeling myself. I couldn’t sleep at night; I would toss and turn. Thinking about what is going to happen next. I didn’t have any motivation to do anything. I didn’t feel to clean, shower, get dress, or to eat. I didn’t want to entertain my son. There were days I didn’t leave my bedroom. I cried every day. I thought to myself, “Why am I still alive?” My boyfriend and I would fight for no reason at all… I was tense, depressed, and had anxiety all the time, but never realized it because I never went through it before. My boyfriend, family and friends would tell me I need to see someone and talk. They knew what was going on. I had too much pride. I did not need a therapist. I did not need to be on medication. I knew how to dominate my life and my emotions. I thought I knew it all.
Until I woke up one morning, I did not want to feel miserable anymore. I had a baby growing in me and had a son watching me. I had to do it for them. I wanted to enjoy my life like I used too. I made an appointment with a therapist. My first appointment looking from the past was awkward. Only because this person I did not know I opened to my personal life and struggles which was a challenging thing for me to do. This person helped me open my emotions and thoughts, let me know it is okay and to let go of my pride. My therapist helped me learn how to cope with my anger and stress. Not to project my anger and stress on to others. She taught me how to think about other things when I am angry and not to hold on to it. She taught me life is too short to worry about things I cannot control; not to be a perfectionist anymore. She introduced me to yoga to cope with my anxiety and stress, to relax and energize myself. Take me time. After having multiple sessions with her and starting to take care of my mental health, I started to smile again. Being a person, you must take care of your mind and body.
During a time like this, women with children or pregnant women who are struggling need to seek help from a professional source. They need to take care of their minds, not just for themselves but for their children as well. Being in a good mood, you respond better to negative situations. In the opposite mood, you respond horrible to situations. Sometimes you cannot manage those situations at all. Finding a therapist was not as intimidating as you would think. Since we have the internet you can find a therapist very easily, especially if you are looking for a specific therapist. The hardest part is opening, exploring your thought process and how you react. It is not about fixing yourself; it is about how to build a better version of yourself.