It all started almost a week ago from today. I was at work having a very productive meeting when I got The Call. My physician’s office needed to schedule an ultrasound following an abnormal mammogram. The ultrasound was followed by a biopsy to examine the tumors that were showing. Being a therapist, I’d like to say I handled this experience with all grace, peace and tranquility – but I’d be lying. As a Mom, I can only say what followed was a whirlwind of emotions and uncertainty. Here are some practical things that can help ride the sea of emotions that comes with receiving distressing medical news:

1. Have the breakdown

Motherhood has taught me how important it is not stress over the little things of life. If I am not shaken it is easier for our girls to follow suit. By nature, I can usually keep things together emotionally for my kids and family. But that wasn’t going to happen this time. Nope. I just needed to cry and I did – a lot. Some consider tears synonymous to weakness or for those that can’t handle the stress of life. Ironically, crying can be a noteworthy way to work through stress and just survive emotional concerns.

2. Ask Questions

Have a lot of questions? Ask your physicians. They may not be able to offer any definitive answers to any outcomes. However, just getting more information seemed to neutralized on a lot of my emotions.

3. Avoid getting stuck in your emotions

As moms, emotions are a part of life. They often motivate us to become better parents. Fear is a strong emotion that can overtake us if we allow it. Finding ways to help put my emotions on the shelf, and directing my thoughts, enabled me to spend more time engaging with my family rather than being consumed by worry.

4. Reach out to your support system often

Motherhood requires a community of friends, especially during stressful times. But, we need to be the ones to reach out. Isolation only makes crisis worse. There would have been no encouraging calls or texts, distractions or even someone to go with me to the procedures if I did not ask for help. Get professional help if you need it. Outside support is truly invaluable.

5. Source of Hope

Hope is essential to walk through crisis or even life for that matter. We need to have a place beyond ourselves from which we can continually find some element of peace. Personally, it comes from my faith. For others, hope may be found in reason, being around nature or the presence of friends or family – whatever will give you the continued inner strength to move forward. A source of hope is endless and never runs dry. It motivates us to come back for more.

-Terre Grable