Tiffany Yeary is a mom of 3, including her youngest daughter who has Down syndrome. Read on to go along with her during a busy and sometimes stressful day as she does her best to stay in the moment. She had us all taking a moment to take a deep breath and we’re so excited to share her beautiful and wise words with you.
I breathe in through my nose for four seconds, hold the breath for seven, and exhale through my mouth for a count of eight. I was taught in therapy to do this during the times that I feel anxious. It grounds me, reorients me, and allows me to step back for a moment and refocus. It enables my nervous system to regulate and the fight or flight response to slow. My lungs and body are filled with the precious oxygen that I tend to cut short with all too often shallow breathing. I have found that this breathing technique is helpful not only during the stressful times, but during the good times as well. It causes me to slow down and to fully take in the essence and the entirety of the moment.
As a stay at home mom of three, my youngest of whom has Down syndrome, my day mostly looks like any other busy mom’s day, but sometimes is filled with different challenges. Today was one of those days. It started with the usual morning hustle and bustle of getting three small kids ready and loaded into the car to get to their summer activities- dance camp for my five year old daughter, and art camp for my seven year old son. I find myself feeling frustrated as my kids seem to be going extra slow in getting out the door this morning, and we are running late (as usual)! Finally we are loaded and on our way to our first stop, and the two older ones end up fighting and arguing over who knows what. I start to feel frustrated and am about to say something in a tone I know I will later regret- so instead, I breathe. In for four seconds, holding for seven, releasing for eight. I do a couple of cycles and then respond to my kids, using a much better tone and kinder words than what would have come out before.
An hour in the car passes and both kiddos are safely to their destinations. I’m thinking I will take my sweet two year old to do something fun before I have to pick up the older two. Before we head off, I check my messages as there is one waiting from her pediatrician. My heart begins to race and my breathing becomes shallow and rapid. It’s about her lab results from her recent blood draw and I’m terrified of what it might show. She has been having some abnormal symptoms lately and my mind has not been at ease for a week now. I know that with Down syndrome comes a greater possibility of things like Leukemia, and my mind oftentimes wanders to the bleakest of outcomes. I am now so nervous that I am literally shaking. I pause and breathe. In for four, hold for seven, out for eight. The results of the bloodwork are slightly abnormal and we are told that we need to get further labs drawn. I am afraid and in tears. I load up my precious daughter and we drive straight to the lab. It feels heartbreaking to see her
have to get poked with a needle again for the second day in a row. She is terrified and I do my best to hold her down, comfort her, and keep myself together. So I pray and I breathe. In for four, hold for seven, out for eight.
I pick up my older two from their activities and the rest of the day is a bit slower paced. I happen upon my two daughters randomly snuggling and it is the most precious thing ever! Although the moment is simple, it is beautiful, and I breathe. In for four, hold for seven, out for eight.
I play a board game with my son and read a book with my two daughters- moments that aren’t
necessarily monumental or astounding, yet are still simultaneously meaningful and pleasant. I love being in the presence of my kiddos in the simple moments like these, and I slow down to take it all in, and I breathe.
Finally, I take an evening walk with my two year old in her stroller. The neighborhood is quiet and peaceful, and there is a beautiful sunset that is beginning to form in the sky. Today was filled with some good and some bad, and I process it. It may not seem like a lot, but today I was successful. Why?
Because I remembered to breathe. In the both the good moments and the bad moments I remembered to breathe. And my heart is filled with gratitude as I realize I am the luckiest to be the mama of these three amazing children!