I recently made a huge move across the world. As we were on what seemed to be a
never-ending plane ride, a baby was crying. The parents were doing everything in their
power to settle her down. It was evident they wanted their little one to be at peace. They
also did not want to upset the other passengers. Any parent that has been in that
situation knows how stressful it can be.
I was instantly reminded of a time when I was in their shoes. I was traveling alone with
my toddler daughter. She wanted absolutely nothing to do with the airplane we were on.
She let everyone on the airplane know of her dissatisfaction, too. She was flailing her
arms and screaming at the top of her lungs. I was horrified and felt helpless. I, too, was
doing everything in my power to settle her down. After over an hour of this, she
eventually fell asleep... just in time for the landing.
At the end of the flight, a woman approached me. She explained that she was a child
and family psychologist. My heart sank. I thought for sure she was going to judge me or
tell me everything I was doing wrong. My mind raced with the fear of her reporting my
child and me to authorities. After all, what mother brings a screaming toddler on an
airplane anyway?? As she continued to talk, my tensions eased, and her words filled my
heart with relief. Instead of pointing fingers and harsh judgments, she encouraged me.
She also acknowledged what I was going through and gave me the words I needed to
build my confidence as a mom. As I walked onto the jetway, I had an extra pep in my
step. She had given me the confidence I needed to take the next step with my
My then-toddler is now 15 years old, and life has inevitably brought its ups and downs.
When the time came for us to see a therapist, my hands shook as feelings of doubt, and
mom guilt overwhelmed me. Once again, my negative preconceived thoughts
consumed me. I thought that if we needed outside help, I had failed in some way.
Fortunately, yet again, I quickly realized that is far from the truth. The support and care
we received, individually and as a family, was exactly what we needed to detangle and
get our mental health on track.
If you feel the same way I did, know you are not alone, and please do not hesitate to
reach out for help. If your children feel that way, my first children's book, Tangled Up, is
an excellent first step and conversation starter. It is intended to lessen the fear of the
unknown and shines a positive, peaceful light on mental health and therapy. It colorfully
shows how the beautiful threads of us can become tangled and how therapists and
counselors are here to help us twirl bravely through life.