10 things most kids don't know about their mothers.

This article originally appeared on 05.27.16


Pregnant.

There it was, clear as day, two blue lines staring back at me from the small pregnancy test I had just purchased.

I double-checked...

One line = not pregnant.

Two lines = pregnant.

Photo via iStock.

Yup, I was definitely pregnant.

My heart was pounding.

My head was spinning.

My stomach was churning.

I was nervous, excited, scared, and ecstatic all at the same time.



This was actually happening! After years of dreaming, preparing for, and anticipating this day, it was finally here. I was going to be a mother.

Photo via iStock.

Little did I know that in nine short months, I would begin the most exhausting, life-changing, heart-wrenching, but indescribably rewarding journey of my life.

In nine months, I would learn the price of motherhood firsthand. I would know exactly what it takes to be a mother. I would gain a whole new understanding of and gratitude for the beautiful woman I call Mom.

I would learn about things mothers experience that their children often know very little about.

Here are 10 things your mom never told you.

1. You made her cry ... a lot.

She cried when she found out she was pregnant. She cried as she gave birth to you. She cried when she first held you. She cried with happiness. She cried with fear. She cried with worry. She cried because she feels so deeply for you. She felt your pain and your happiness and she shared it with you, whether you realized it or not.

2. She wanted that last piece of pie.

But when she saw you look at it with those big eyes and lick your mouth with that tiny tongue, she couldn't eat it. She knew it would make her much happier to see your little tummy be filled than hers.

3. It hurt.

When you pulled her hair, it hurt; when you grabbed her with those sharp fingernails that were impossible to cut, it hurt; when you bit her while drinking milk, that hurt, too. You bruised her ribs when you kicked her from her belly; you stretched her stomach out for nine months; you made her body contract in agonizing pain as you entered this world.

4. She was always afraid.

From the moment you were conceived, she did all in her power to protect you. She became your mama bear. She was that lady who wanted to say no when the little girl next door asked to hold you and who cringed when she did because in her mind no one could keep you as safe as she herself could. Her heart skipped two beats with your first steps. She stayed up late to make sure you got home safe and woke up early to see you off to school. With every stubbed toe and little stumble, she was close by; she was ready to snatch you up with every bad dream or late-night fever. She was there to make sure you were OK.

She stayed up late to make sure you got home safe and woke up early to see you off to school.

5. She knows she's not perfect.

She is her own worst critic. She knows all her flaws and sometimes hates herself for them. She is hardest on herself when it comes to you, though. She wanted to be the perfect mom, to do nothing wrong — but because she is human, she made mistakes. She is probably still trying to forgive herself for them. She wishes with her whole heart that she could go back in time and do things differently, but she can't, so be kind to her and know she did the best she knew how to do.

6. She watched you as you slept.


There were nights when she was up 'til 3 a.m. praying that you would finally fall asleep. She could hardly keep her eyes open as she sang to you, and she would beg you to "please, please fall asleep." Then, when you finally fell asleep, she would lay you down, and all her tiredness would disappear for a short second as she sat by your bedside looking down at your perfect cherub face, experiencing more love than she knew was possible, despite her worn-out arms and aching eyes.

7. She carried you a lot longer than nine months.

You needed her to. So she did. She would learn to hold you while she cleaned; she would learn to hold you while she ate; she would even hold you while she slept because it was the only way she could sometimes. Her arms would get tired, her back would hurt, but she held you still because you wanted to be close to her. She snuggled you, loved you, kissed you, and played with you. You felt safe in her arms; you were happy in her arms; you knew you were loved in her arms, so she held you, as often and as long as you needed.

Her arms would get tired, her back would hurt, but she held you still because you wanted to be close to her.

8. It broke her heart every time you cried.

There was no sound as sad as your cries or sight as horrible as the tears streaming down your perfect face. She did all in her power to stop you from crying, and when she couldn't stop your tears, her heart would shatter into a million little pieces.

9. She put you first.

She went without food, without showers, and without sleep. She always put your needs before her own. She would spend all day meeting your needs, and by the end of the day, she would have no energy left for herself. But the next day, she would wake up and do it all over again because you meant that much to her.

10. She would do it all again.

Being a mom is one of the hardest jobs anyone can do, and it will take you to your very limits sometimes. You cry, you hurt, you try, you fail, you work, and you learn. But, you also experience more joy than you thought was possible and feel more love than your heart can contain. Despite all the pain, grief, late nights, and early mornings you put your mom through, she would do it all again for you because you are worth it to her.

So, next time you see her, tell your mom thank you; let her know that you love her. She can never hear it too many times.

















Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

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