October is filled with so many important things that can affect our mental health. Breast Cancer Awareness campaign affects our mental health, even having it mentioned “buddy check” or “get your mammogram,” you can’t tell me that that doesn’t cause you to feel a little bit of anxiety. What if you feel a lump? What if you get a mammogram and they find something? Those thoughts are intimidating and enough to keep plenty of women home.
Then there is the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness campaign. Such an important thing to break the silence and get people talking about this very real issue. It can be scary too. As a woman, when you’re pregnant, the last thing you want is to think about how the life inside you might not make it to life outside the womb. Not to mention the child being born safely, you go home and sometimes before they reach their first birthday something happens and they pass. All of these things are unimaginable. Even people who have endured these things can’t believe it happened, and it feels so surreal. Hearing about these significant topics can cause their own versions of anxiety and stress, worrying about cancer and the lives of your children.
For those who have endured a breast cancer diagnosis, October might be filled with memories of their moments being sick, but you’re glad people are talking about it to prevent it from happening to others. Similarly, to those who’ve lost a child. They are happy to inform others that it’s a real issue and affects more women than you may have thought. These campaigns bring unity to the people who have been affected and helps others know that they are not alone.
Those who’ve had to endure these things have to deal with many emotions—grief, loss, fear, and anxiety. I’ve talked about grief and loss. While your loss is different than my loss, you will still see similarities. Same with fear and anxiety. Our journeys will be separate and yet parallel.
What’s the point, Dr. Johnson? The fact is you are not alone. Whether you are going through a breast cancer diagnosis or another cancer treatment, you are not alone. Whether you have lost a baby in the early stages (miscarriage) or had a stillbirth or an infant loss, you’re not alone. Your journey through grief and loss is like no one else’s, but you are still not alone. Even if you don’t think a person can have any inkling of what you are going through, God does. Jesus knows your hurt and your struggles. He tells us not to be anxious, not to be afraid. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. God tells us that He is there, holding us through all these hard moments we must endure because life is not easy, and being God’s child doesn’t make our lives all rainbows and unicorns. But in a deep, meaningful way, we have a peace that passes all understanding. John 16:33 says it better than I ever could, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
For those of you who are afraid of what tomorrow might bring while you’re pregnant, and those who are scared to get those scary doctor appointments, the Bible says Matthew 6:34 says, “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” And John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my Peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” And Matthew 6:27 says, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”
Take a moment and make the appointment that scares you. Do the research that you are worried about. Take the steps towards preventing that which you can and becoming aware of what happens around you. Support women as we fight battles others can’t imagine. And when you need rest from those battles, remember that God is there. “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28.