HOWELL — Howell mother Courtney Devich gets vulnerable in "Mama's Got Anxiety: But It's Not Going to Steal Her Joy," published in early September.
Devich wrote the book after motherhood and a global pandemic brought her struggle with anxiety to the forefront.
"I've lived with anxiety, I would say my whole life," she said. "I wasn't formally diagnosed until I was 19, but motherhood definitely amplified it for me."
She and her husband, William, are parents to three young children. The couple's six-year-old was born premature, leading to postpartum anxiety. Their three-and-a-half-year-old was high-risk and born during the COVID-19 pandemic. Devich struggled with preeclampsia and gestational hypertension.
The couple's third child was born in April of this year.
Devich worked in human resources, but quit her job during the pandemic.
"I hunkered down in my house for fear of the virus taking my babies from me," she said. "As I was living in the four walls of my house in fear, I realized I wasn't able to enjoy motherhood. Here I was, a stay-at-home mom to two littles ... and I wasn't able to enjoy it all."
The family couldn't go to the zoo or the park. Devich says she was fearful of everything outside the walls of her home.
"It was stealing the joy out of motherhood."
She decided to write a book — a form of therapy and a method to talk about her journey.
"It's not really about just the pandemic," she said. "Just all the worries and fears in general that we have as mothers."
The book is also Christian-focused, and touches on the stigmas Christians have about living with mental illness.
"I know a lot of times we're told to just pray more and that Jesus will heal us," Devich said. "And obviously I believe he does, but I believe he does in different methods and different ways, such as therapy and medication."
Those who've read it so far, Devich said, have found the book relatable.
"I think a lot of times, at least for me, I would read anxiety books, self-help books and finish them and not feel at all better," she said. "I like to think of (my book) more as the encouragement. It's just like a conversation with a friend, encouraging you in your anxiety and letting you know that you're not alone in it."
Devich is currently working on a new book about motherhood.
"Mama's Got Anxiety" was published through Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group in Grand Rapids. The book can be found at the Howell Carnegie District Library, on Amazon, and at Target, Barnes and Noble and Books-A-Million.
— Contact reporter Patricia Alvord at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Livingston Daily: Howell mom says anxiety won't 'steal her joy' in new book